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    Current projection assumptions for the United Nations demographic projections.

    United Nations. Secretariat

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 25-32. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    The United Nations population projection assumptions are statements of expected trends in fertility, mortality and migration in the world. In every assessment, each of the 3 demographic components is unambiguously specified at the national level for each of the 5-year periods during the population interval (1950-2025). The approach used by the UN in preparing its projections is briefly summarized. At the general level, the analyst relies on available information of past events and current demographic levels and differentials, the demographic trends and experiences of similar countries in the region and his or her informed interpretations of what is likely to occur in the future. One common feature of the UN population projections that guides the analyst in preparing the assumptions is the general conceptual scheme of the demographic transition, or the socio-economic threshold hypothesis of fertility decline. As can be observed from the projected demographic trends reported in this paper, population stabilization at low levels of fertility, mortality and migration is the expected future for each country, with the only important differences being the timing of the stabilization. Irrespective of whether the country is developed, with very low fertility (for example, the Federal Republic of Germany or Japan), or developing with high fertility (such as, Bangladesh or the Syrian Arab Republic), it is assumed that fertility will arrive at replacement levels in the not too distant future. Serious alternative theories or hypotheses of population change, such as declining population size, are not only very few in number, but they tend to be somewhat more unacceptable and inconvenient to the demographic analyst as well as being considerably less palatable to goverments.
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