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Long‐Range Population Projections Made Simple


  • Joshua R. Goldstein
  • Guy Stecklov


Recent developments in mathematical demography offer a new, simple means of producing long‐range population projections. The well‐known extant such projections, produced by the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, rely on elaborate cohort‐component projection methods that require a large number of detailed assumptions and are difficult to replicate. Building upon recent results in the formal demography of nonstable populations, the authors show that analytic methods produce estimates of future population size very similar to those obtained through traditional methods. Simplicity is a virtue in making projections, allowing sensitivity tests of assumptions and avoiding the misleading impression of precision associated with more complicated methods. Cohort‐component methods should still be used for short‐ and medium‐term forecasts and projections. For the long term, however, analytic methods should supplement or even replace traditional projections.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua R. Goldstein & Guy Stecklov, 2002. "Long‐Range Population Projections Made Simple," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 121-141, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:28:y:2002:i:1:p:121-141
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2002.00121.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Booth, Heather, 2006. "Demographic forecasting: 1980 to 2005 in review," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 547-581.
    2. Hal Caswell & Nora Sánchez Gassen, 2015. "The sensitivity analysis of population projections," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(28), pages 801-840.
    3. Thomas Espenshade & Analia Olgiati & Simon Levin, 2011. "On Nonstable and Stable Population Momentum," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1581-1599, November.

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