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    Some problems in the making of population projections.

    Tabah L

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. Papers of the United Nations Ad Hoc Expert Group on Demographic Projections, United Nations Headquarters, 16-19 November 1981. New York, United Nations, 1984. 15-6. (Population Studies No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    As the UN demographic estimates and projections cover all the developed and developing countries, special problems are encountered in data collection and evaluations. The responsibility for the UN projections rests primarily with the Population Division, but the results are the product of collaboration by all responsible offices within the UN system. This is 1 of the strengths of the UN population projections, yet there are numerous problems concerning those projections. Aside from the perpetual difficulties with collection and estimation of basic demographic indicators from incomplete data, all of which must be continuously undertaken, there are 8 major problems which have become more important in recent years and concern the current UN demographic projections. The 1st problem is the question of meeting the needs of the users who are the researchers, the planners, and the policymakers. The 2nd problem is that significant improvement can be made in the methodologies with, on the 1 hand, the prodigious advances in calculation devices and research techniques and on the other, a better knowledge of the economic and social context of demographic variables. The 3rd major problem in the component method of projections of fertility, which continues to be the most influential component to the future population of most nations. Another component of projection, mortality, has become a pressing issue in the field of projection as well. Knowledge of mortality in the third world is highly fragmentary. The 5th problematic issue is urbanization and city growth. There are severe problems with data comparability and projection methods. Sixth, for several developing and developed countries international migration plays a significant role in their population growth. More problematic than estimating the current net numbers of migrants is formulating assumptions about future patterns of international migration. Seventh, thus far demographic projections have largely been based on the demographic theory of transition, which appears to continue to be useful for developing countries. Yet, the demographic transition models are affected by a wider variety of trajectories than anticipated. Finally, no one has been able to explain clearly the major simultaneous movements of fertility of the developed countries. The question of obvious policy significance is what will happen in the future.
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