Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Population forecast accuracy: does the choice of summary measure of error matter?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Stefan Rayer

    ()

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Population projections are judged primarily by their accuracy. The most commonly used measure for the precision component of accuracy is the mean absolute percent error (MAPE). Recently, the MAPE has been criticized for overstating forecast error and other error measures have been proposed. This study compares the MAPE with two alternative measures of forecast error, the Median APE and an M-estimator. In addition, the paper also investigates forecast bias. The analysis extends previous studies of forecast error by examining a wide range of trend extrapolation techniques using a dataset that spans a century for a large sample of counties in the US. The main objective is to determine whether the choice of summary measure of error makes a difference from a practitioner’s standpoint. The paper finds that the MAPE indeed produces error values that exceed the robust measures. However, except for situations where extreme outliers rendered the MAPE meaningless, and which are rare in real world applications, there was not a single instance where using an alternative summary measure of error would have led to a fundamentally different evaluation of the projections. Moreover, where differences existed, it was not always clear that the values and patterns provided by the robust measures were necessarily more correct than those obtained with the MAPE. While research into refinements and alternatives to the MAPE and mean algebraic percent error are worthwhile, consideration of additional evaluation procedures that go beyond a single criterion might provide more benefits to producers and users of population forecasts. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11113-007-9030-0
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Population Research and Policy Review.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 163-184

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:26:y:2007:i:2:p:163-184

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102983

    Related research

    Keywords: Forecast accuracy; MAPE; Error measures; Population projections;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Armstrong, J. Scott & Collopy, Fred, 1992. "Error measures for generalizing about forecasting methods: Empirical comparisons," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 69-80, June.
    2. Yokuma, J. Thomas & Armstrong, J. Scott, 1995. "Beyond accuracy: Comparison of criteria used to select forecasting methods," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 591-597, December.
    3. Steve Murdock & F. Leistritz & Rita Hamm & Sean-Shong Hwang & Banoo Parpia, 1984. "An assessment of the accuracy of a regional economic-demographic projection model," Demography, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 383-404, August.
    4. Ahlburg, Dennis A., 1992. "Error measures and the choice of a forecast method," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 99-100, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Stefan Rayer & Stanley Smith & Jeff Tayman, 2009. "Empirical Prediction Intervals for County Population Forecasts," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 28(6), pages 773-793, December.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:26:y:2007:i:2:p:163-184. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.