When observing the Earth from above at night, it is clear that the human settlement and major economic regions emit glorious light. At cloud-free nights, some remote sensing satellites can record visible radiance source, including city light, fishing boat light and fire, and these nighttime cloud-free images are remotely sensed nighttime light images. Different from daytime remote sensing, nighttime light remote sensing provides a unique perspective on human social activities, thus it has been widely used for spatial data mining of socioeconomic domains. Historically, researches on nighttime light remote sensing mostly focus on urban land cover and urban expansion mapping using DMSP/OLS imagery, but the nighttime light images are not the unique remote sensing source to do these works. Through decades of development of nighttime light product, the nighttime light remote sensing application has been extended to numerous interesting and scientific study domains such as econometrics, poverty estimation, light pollution, fishery and armed conflict. Among the application cases, it is surprising to see the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) data can be corrected using the nighttime light data, and it is interesting to see mechanism of several diseases can be revealed by nighttime light images, while nighttime light are the unique remote sensing source to do the above works. As the nighttime light remote sensing has numerous applications, it is important to summarize the application of nighttime light remote sensing and its data mining fields. This paper introduced major satellite platform and sensors for observing nighttime light at first. Consequently, the paper summarized the progress of nighttime light remote sensing data mining in socioeconomic parameter estimation, urbanization monitoring, important event evaluation, environmental and healthy effects, fishery dynamic mapping, epidemiological research and natural gas flaring monitoring. Finally, future trends of nighttime light remote sensing and its data mining have been proposed from four aspects including new data source, knowledge discovery, in-situ observation, and national/global geographic conditions monitoring.