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  1. 1
    024920

    Recommendations.

    United Nations. Ad Hoc Expert Group on Demographic Projections

    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. 4-6. (Population Studies No. 83 ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    These recommendations refer specifically to the work of the Population Division of the UN and the regional commissions and more generally to the work of the specialized agenices, which prepare projections of labor force and school enroolment. The current recommendations may be regarded as updating an earlier detailed set that was issued by a similar group of experts who convened in New York in November 1977. The recommendations cover general considerations, sources and assumptions, evaluation of projections and their uses, and internal migration and urbanization. The Population Division should consider the question of an optimal time schedule for publishing new estimates and projections in order to avoid unduly long intervals between publications and intervals so short as to cause confusion. The UN Secretariat has an important role in pursuing work on methodology of projections and making it available to demographers in the developing countries. Unique problems of demographic projection exist for those countries with particularly small populations. It is proposed that the Population Division prepare special tabulations, whenever possible, giving the estimated age and sex distribution for these countries. Future publications of population projections prepared by the Population Division should indicate the major data sources on which the projections are based and note if the data were adjusted before inclusion. In addition, some grading of the quality of the base data should be presented. For the UN set of national and international population projections, a more comprehensive system of establishing assumptions about the future trends of fertility is needed. The Secretariat needs to focus more attention on the evaluation of its population projections. UN publications of projections should report on the main errors in recent past projections with respect to estimates of baseline levels and trends and provide some evaluation of the quality of the current estimates. It is recommended that the UN encourage countries to establish a standard definition of urban which would be used for international comparisons but generally not replace current national definitions. The Secretariat should review the techniques currently used to project urban-rural and city populations and search for methodologies appropriate to the level of urbanization and the quality of data which would improve the accuracy of the projections. The Division should regularly produce long range population projections for the world and major countries and should continue and expand its household estimates and projection series, which provides information essential to government administrators and planning agencies, businesses, and researchers in all countries.
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  2. 2
    268443

    Report on the evaluation of SEN/77/P04: population/socio-spatial/regional planning (population/amenagement du territoire).

    Fabri MY; Pool DI; Simonen M

    New York, New York, United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA], 1984 Dec. xiii, 34, [7] p.

    The Senegal population/socio-spatial/regional planning project illustrates a truly integrated approach to population and development planning. The evaluation Mission concluded overall that the project's achievements are positive. The project's main accomplishments have been the establishment of a sophisticated population data bank, the preparation of national and regional population projections, an analysis of migration movements, and the production of related maps and tables using primarily 2ndary data sources. The technical quality and detail of the work undertaken, as well as its potential usefulness, were high. However, the Mission also found that various constraints specific to this project have considerably limited its achievements. These include inadequately formulated project objectives and planned activities, poorly defined conceptual framework, low absorptive capacity of the implementing agency, and severe United Nations Fund for Population Activities budget reductions. The value of the work was found to be lessened because the data assembled have not yet been systematically integrated into other relevant data banks, properly disseminated or utilized. The Mission recommended measures which will help conserve the valuable data bank and other results of the project and will assist in the transfer to nationals of the knowledge and skills to update and utilize the data bank. Limited outside assistance--financial and technical--is needed for some of the recommended measures.
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  3. 3
    031753

    [World population and development: an important change in perspective] Population mondiale et developpement: un important changement de perspective.

    Vallin J

    Problemes Economiques. 1984 Oct 24; (1895):26-32.

    The International Population Conference in Mexico City was much less controversial than the World Population Conference in Bucharest 10 years previously, in part because the message of Bucharest was widely accepted and in part because of changes that occurred in the demographic and economic situations in the succeeding decade. The UN medium population projection for 1985 has been proved quite accurate; it is not as alarming as the high projection but still represents a doubling of world population in less than 40 years. The control of fertility upon which the medium projection was predicated is well underway. The movement from high to low rates of fertility and mortality began in the 18th century in the industrial countries and lasted about 1 1/2 centuries during which the population surplus was dispersed throughout the world, especially in North and South America. The 2nd phase of movement from high to low rates currently underway in the developing countries has produced a far greater population increase. The proportion of the population in the developed areas of Europe, North America, the USSR, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand will decline from about 1/3 of the 2.5 billion world population of 1950 to 1/4 of the 3.7 billion of 1985, to 1/5 of the 4.8 billion of 2000, and probably 1/7 of the 10 billion when world population stabilizes at the end of the next century. The growth rates of developing countries are not homogeneous; the populations of China and India have roughly doubled in the past 35 years while that of Latin America has multiplied by 2 1/2. The population of Africa more than doubled in 35 years and will almost triple by 2025. The number of countries with over 50 million inhabitants, 9 in 1950, will increase from 19 in 1985 to 32 in 2025. The process of urbanization is almost complete in the industrialized countries, with about 75% of the population urban in 1985, but urban populations will continue to grow rapidly in the developing countries as rural migration is added to natural increase. The number of cities with 10 million inhabitants has increased from 2 to 13 between 1950 and 1985, and is expected to reach 25 by 2000, with Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai the world's largest cities. The peak rate of world population growth was reached in the 1960s, with annual increases of 2.4%. In 1980-85 in the developed and developing worlds respectively the rates of population growth were .7% and 2.0%/year; total fertility rates were 2.05 and 4.2, and the life expectancies at birth were 72.4 and 57.0. Considerable variations occurred in individual countries. Annual rates of growth in 1980-85 were 2.4% in Latin America, 3.0% in Africa, 2.2% in South Asia and 1.2% in East Asia. Today only Iran among high fertility countries pursues a pronatalist policy. Since Bucharest, it has become evident to developing and developed countries alike that population control and economic development must go hand in hand.
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  4. 4
    268209

    Population Commission: report on the twenty-second session, 18-20 January 1984.

    United Nations. Economic and Social Council

    New York, New York, United Nations 1984. 45 p. (Official Records, 1984, Supplement No. 2 E/1984/12 E./CN. 9/1984/9)

    The report of the 22nd session of the United Nations Population Commission includes the opening statements by the Under Secretary General for International Economic and Social Affairs, the Under Secretary General for Technical Cooperation for Development, the Director of the Population Division, and the Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. These are followed by a description of the actions taken by the United Nations to implement the recommendations of the World Population Conference, 1974. A report on the progress of ongoing work in the field of population summarized for the following categories: 1) world demographic analysis; 2) demographic projections; 3) population policies; 4) population and development; 5) monitoring of population trends and policies; 6) factors affecting patterns of reproduction; 7) dissemination of population information; 8) technical cooperation; and 9) demograpahic statistics. Programs of work in the field of population for the biennium 1984-1985 and medium-term plan for the period 1984-1989 are provided for each of the 9 preceding categories as well as a consideration of draft proposals and a report on the continuity of work. The report concludes with the organization, attendance, and agenda of the session.
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  5. 5
    030872

    [Reconciling censal and inter-censal data and determination of the population base] Conciliacion censal y determinacion de la poblacion base.

    Rincon MJ

    In: Metodos para proyecciones demograficas [compiled by] United Nations. Centro Latinoamericano de Demografia [CELADE]. San Jose, Costa Rica, Centro Latinoamericano de Demografia, 1984 Nov. 13-42. (Centro Latinoamericano de Demografia [CELADE] Series E, No. 1003)

    This work describes procedures used by the Latin American Demographic Center (CELADE) for establishing a base population for projection in quinquennial age groups by means of evaluation of population censuses and reconciliation of demographic data for 2 or more intercensal periods. Demographic reconciliation refers to the array of procedures through which the degree of coverage of successive censuses is evaluated; age and sex distributions resulting from incomplete coverage, differential omission, and poor age reporting are corrected; the demographic dynamics of intercensal periods are made coherent with estimates of mortality, fertility, and migration from all available sources; and a base population for population projection is established. There are no fixed rules for evaluation and reconciliation of census data, because the history and quality of data collection in each country are unique. The compensatory equation, in which 2 or more population censuses are reconciled in regard to fertility, mortality, and international migration in intermediate years usually in terms of age cohorts, is an indispensable tool for demographers in developing countries. The need to add children born in the years between censuses and the different types of errors typifying different age groups means that the process of census reconciliation should be carried out separately for at least 3 age groups: children under 5, the 5-9 year cohort, and those over 10 years of age. The age group 0-4 is often the most seriously underestimated. Because the age group 5-9 years is often the best enumerated in Latin American population censuses, it can serve as the basis for correction of the population aged 0-4. The data required include the population aged 5-9 in single years in the last census, the deaths in children under 10 by year of birth and age at death in single years, and the annual number of births in the 10 years preceding the last census. Data from Panama illustrate that the results of this technique are not always acceptable, in which case correction of the 0-4 cohort may be accomplished by means of correction of births and deaths using indirect methods. Corrections for the 5-9 cohort, if required, can be made in a similar manner to that for the youngest group. Evaluation and correction of errors of omission and misreporting of age of the population over 10 is the most difficult because data sources are most often inadequate, these age groups have the greatest age and sex differentials and poorest age reporting, and are most likely to be effected by emigration. All available data should be utilized to produce a group of alternative estimates for each cohort based on diverse basic data and assumptions about such variables as the sex ratios for age agroups. The most likely values must then be selected or calculated. The process by which census results from 1950-80 were used to estimate the base population for a projection by components in Panama illustrates the procedure used by CELADE.
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  6. 6
    030241

    Speech at the UN International Conference on Population, Mexico City, August, 1984.

    Wang W

    China Population Newsletter. 1984 Aug; 1(3):1-3.

    In seeking a solution to its population problem, China, as a developing socialist country, has been making unremitting efforts to develop economy while controlling the rapid growth. The objective is to control rapid population growth so that population growth may be in keeping with socioeconomic development and commensurate with utilization of natural resources and environmental protection. In the past decade, and particularly since 1979, China has made much progress in developing economy and gained remarkable successes in controlling population growth. The natural population growth rate dropped to 1.15% in 1983, from 2.089% in 1973. Living standards have improved with a gradual annual increase of per capita income. All this proves that the policy of promoting family planning to control population growth along with planned economic development is correct. In China family planning is a basic state policy. The government has advocated the practice of "1 couple, 1 child" since 1979. This does not mean that 1 couple could have 1 child only in every case. The government provides guidance for the implementation of family planning programs in the light of specific conditions such as economic developments, cultural background, population structure, and the wishes of the people in different localities. The requirements are more flexible in rural than in urban areas and more so among the people of national minorities than among the people of the Han Nationality. In rural areas, couples who have actual difficulties and want to have 2 children may have a 2nd birth with planned spacing. In carrying out its family planning program, China has consistently adhered to the principle of integrating state guidance with the masses' voluntariness. The government has always emphasized the importance of encouraging the people's own initiatives, through publicity and education, which is the key link in implementing the family planning program.
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  7. 7
    021441
    Peer Reviewed

    A perspective on long-term population growth.

    Demeny PG

    Population and Development Review. 1984 Mar; 10(1):103-26.

    This paper presents some of the results of projections prepared by the World Bank in 1983 for all the world's countries. The projections (presented against a background of recent demographic trends as estimated by the United Nations) trace the approach of each individual country to a stationary state. Implications of the underlying fertility and mortality assumptions are shown mainly in terms of time trends of total population to the year 2100, annual rates of growth, and absolute annual increments. These indices are shown for the largest individual countries, for world regions, and for country groupings according to economic criteria. The detailed predictive performance of such projections is likely to be poor but the projections indicate orders of magnitude characterizing certain aggregate demographic phenomena whose occurrence is highly probable and set clearly interpretable reference points useful in discussing contemporary issues of policy. (author's)
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  8. 8
    267333

    Statement by the Head of Delegation of the Republic of Korea at the International Conference on Population (ICP).

    Korea, Republic of. Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

    [Unpublished] 1984 Aug. Presented at the International Conference on Population, Mexico City, August 6-13, 1984. 3 p.

    In a 5-year plan, the Korean government has integrated family planning programs, including maternal and child health, medical insurance, and social welfare programs, into its primary health ervices in order to reach its hard-core low-income residents in both urban and rural areas. The Korea Women's Development Institute was established in 1982 to enchance the status of women, and the Labor Standard Law has been revised to try to overcome deep-rooted son-preference among Korean parenst. Migration out of rural areas is creating rural manpower problems, and stepped-up rural community development programs are planned. Population predictions by the mid-21st century stand at 61 million, too great for a country with such limited natural resources to support. Korea recommends an exchange of information on population and development between all countries, the setting aside of 1% of each country's annual budget for national population programs, and convening the world population conference every 5 instead of every 10 years so that more progress can be made in solving the problem.
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  9. 9
    024931

    A critical assessment of urban-rural projections with special reference to United Nations methods.

    Speare Jr, A

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 75-80. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    The changing character of urban growth in the latter part of this century will require a modification of the procedures used for uban projections. Definitions of urban areas need to be revised to move away from the concept of densely settled localities and to take into account forms of settlement in which "urban" populations are dispersed over wide areas. Since these newer, more dispersed, urban settlements present Governments with different problems from those presented by large densely-settled cities, and small towns present another set of problems, it would make sense to identify and make projections for 3 classes of urban settlement: central cities, peripheral urban areas and small towns. It is also argued that urbanization in the future may not proceed at the same rate as observed in the past and that some countries may remain primarily rural while other highly urbanized countries may experience declines in their levels of urbanization. While these results will be affected by the choice of urban definition, under any definition allowance ought to be made for a range of future patterns of urbanization. Computational methods have become relatively inexpensive and many countries are now providing much better base data for projections than was available a decade ago. These methods and data should be used to prepare alternative sets of urban-rural projections which take full account of the range of patterns of urbanization which may occur in the future. Finally, many nations have population redistribution policies which include measures to encourage or discourage the growth of particular cities or classes or urban settlement. While experience has shown that the specific numerical goals specified in such policies are rarely achieved and that growth often continues in areas where policies exist to discourage it, these policies often have some impact and should not be neglected. For countries which have fairly explicit redistribution policies, it would make sense to prepare 1 set of projections based on these policies. This set of projections would provide an illustration of how urbanization would depart from that expected from past trends if the policy objectives were realized and would aid in the discussion of these policy objectives.
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  10. 10
    024930

    The urban and city population projections of the United Nations: data, definitions and methods.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 67-74. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    This paper draws attention to the large variation in national practices to determine localities and to classify urban populations which has serious implicatons for any projections of urban and city populations, no matter what specific methodology is being used. There are many criteria by whichlocalities can be defined as urban: population size, population density, % labor force in non-agriucltural activities, function of the city, some other unspecified "urban" characteristics or a combination of several of these criteria. Population size is deemed the preferable criterion for designating localities as urban. This criterion is consistent with one of the classic definitions of urbanization: "Urbanization is a process of population concenttration. It proceeds in 2 ways: the multiplication of points of concentration and the increase in size of individual concentration." Population size is also the most widely available criteria for localities. Procedures used by the UN to estimate and project urban and city population are given. The UN utilizes a measure of urbanization called the urban-rural ratio (URR), which is defined as the ratio of the urban to the rural population for a country at a given point in time. While attempts are being made to provide as complete a coverage of cities as possible, no standard guidelines have so far been used to systematically include all cities that will reach 100,000 population during the projection period. It is hoped that detailed discussion of the data and the conceptual and procedural problems will lead users of the estimates and projections to carefully consult the respective sources and definitions when they use these results for comparative purposes.
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  11. 11
    024929

    Mortality trends and prospects in developing countries: some "best-data" indications.

    Stolnitz GJ

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 60-6. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    This paper offers suggestions for guiding the next projection's exercise at the United Nations in light of third world life tables which, although severely limited, are believed to be relatively reliable. Of prime importance is the suggestion that expectation of life at birth in a number of less developed areas has begun to overtake and surpass the lower levels of such measures among the populations of developed countries. Although this is the 1st such occurrence on record, it is not likely to be reversed. A major implication of these patterns is that the causal linkages which have historically connected levels and patterns of socioeconomic development with those of mortality have become greatly attenuated. It is safe to say that major new causal mechanisms for reducing mortality have come into play which demographers have yet to comprehend adequately for purposes of projection. Another suggestion is to increase attention to the specific status and performance of national public-sector health programs (including water supply and sanitation) key factors affecting the onset and scale of mortality downtrends during the postwar decades. In addition, increasingly close attention needs to be paid to political disturbances, affecting health-care programs financing and associated delivery systems. With few exceptions, differences between female and male life expectancies at birth have been rising in the sample areas under review, implying that the gains over time for females have been higher than those for males. This directional pattern at both ages is remarkably similar to what has been found to hold with notable consistency among developed countries since 1920. Its prevalence suggests a bench-mark for checing the projected longevity differentials between males and females in the next UN exercise; at a minimum, these should be compared with past directions and magnitudes of change. Added or new attention should be given to comparisons between developed country and less developed country mortality measures; to how such measures vary by age at given points of time and shift by age over time; to sex differentials of both mortality levels and changes; and to the rapidly growing stocks of information becoming available on leading correlates of deaths, survival and morbidity rates. Such attention will enhance the quality, relevance and reliability of the future work of the UN on population projections.
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  12. 12
    024921

    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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  13. 13
    267184

    Population projections: methodology of the United Nations.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs

    New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 85 p. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    Upon a recommendation of the Population Commission, at its 20th session in January 1979, the Secretary General of the United Nations convened an Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Demographic Projections from 16 to 19 November 1981 at the UN Headquarters to discuss the methodology used for demographic projections and to consider the relationship of demographic projections to development change and population policies. The expert Group was also requested to provide guidelines and make recommendations to the Secretary-General on how to incorporate demographic changes into the methodology to be used for the next round of world population projections to be prepared by the UN Population Division in collaboration with the regional commissions. The papers prepared by members of the Expert Group as well as those prepared by the Population Division are reproduced in this publication. The recommendations of the Expert Group and a summary of the papers and discussion are also included. The topics addressed in this publication are: 1) problems in making population projections; 2) integration of socioeconomic factors in population projections; 3) population projections as an aid to the formulation and implementation of population policies; 4) current projection assumptions for the United Nations demographic projections; 5) expectations and progressive analysis in fertility prediction; 6) use of the intermediate factors in fertility projections; 7) family planning and population projections; 8) progress of work on a fertility simulation model for population projections at the UN Secretariat; 9) mortality trends and prospects in developing countries: some "best data" indications; 10) the urban and city population projections of the UN: data, definitions and methods; 11) a critical assessment of urban-rural projections with special reference to UN methods; and 12) projections in Europe: some problems.
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  14. 14
    027327

    Report of the Second African Population Conference: organized in co-operation with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the government of the United Republic of Tanzania (Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, 9-13 January 1984)

    United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa [ECA], 1984. 20, [23]; 158, 29 p. (no. ST/ECA/POP/1)

    This two-volume work contains the proceedings of the Second African Population Conference, held in Arusha, Tanzania, in January 1984. Vol. 1 includes summaries of the inaugural address and of the discussions at earlier meetings, a summary of the country statements submitted, and the text of the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action for African Population and Self-Reliant Development. Vol. 2 includes papers on the demographic situation in Africa and future population trends; the relationship between population and development; spatial distribution; family health, welfare, and family planning; the role of women in development; UNFPA assistance programs in Africa; and priorities in population programs in Africa.
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  15. 15
    024924

    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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  16. 16
    024922

    Population projections as an aid to the formulation and implementation of population policies.

    Keyfitz N

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 17-20. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    Estimates of future population are calculated and interpreted in 3 different modes, each with its distinctive relation to the formulation of policy. Any account of the relation of forecasts to policy that overlooks these distinctions, risks confusion, if not self-contradiction. Briefly defined, the 3 modes are: 1) the concrete or unconditional forecast--that simply asserts what the future population will be; 2) the self-annulling forecast--primarily intended as a warning of what will happen unless something is done to prevent it; and 3) the difference or effect that a policy under consideration will have, that is, a sensitivity analysis. The unconditional forecast can be checked after the event by noting how close it came to the performance; this kind of checking has little meaning for either the self-annulling forecast or the sensitivity analysis. Impact is crucial in the 2nd mode: a projection cannot annul itself if no one pays attention to it. The United Nations projections as published are useful in the 1st and 2nd modes, but not directly for sensitivity analysis, which must be designed with the specific proposed policy in view.
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  17. 17
    020961

    Can world population forecasts come true?

    Demeny P

    People. 1984; 11(1):5-8.

    The problem of rapid population growth and its ominous implications for human welfare may not have disappeared totally, but the short-term prospect for the rest of this century is a steady easing of demographic pressures. The passing of inflated rhetoric from the discussion of population issues would be welcome as would a growing confidence that demographic futures are not foreordained but are subject to influence by conscious collective action. There is a real danger that the optimistic interpretation being placed on recent demographic trends is misleading both public opinion and policymakers. Ill founded optimism can lead to inaction tomorrow. Projections issued by the UN became the most generally accepted and influential forecasts. Thus far they have also proved to be very accurate. Population trends up to 1980 proved that the concern elicited by the 1963 projections was well founded. In the 1960s the UN projections were considered as alarming evidence of the "population explosion" in progress. The projections prepared 17 years later broadly confirm their validity. For Asia and Africa the projections prepared in 1980 have been corrected upwards in comparison to the 1963 projections. Yet, the current forecasts tend to be regarded as demonstrations of a brightening demographic outlook. 1 answer for the seeming paradox is that the impression of an unanticipated demographic slowdown is created by sleight of hand. In current popular discussions of population trends the essential identity of the UN's 1963 and 1980 medium forecasts is conveniently ignored. Comparison is made between the UN medium projection in 1980 and an illustrative calculation prepared by the UN in 1963 showing that if fertility remained constant, the trajectory of demographic growth would have resulted in a population of 7.5 billion by the end of the century. A 2nd sophisticated answer would point out that in 1963 the projections reflected declines of fertility that were merely anticipated. The UN predictions for total population growth depicted here must be viewed with a degree of skepticism even as regards the relatively near term future. They imply not only sustenance of existing trends but also discontinuous change: the onset of a steady fertility decline beginning with 1980 in many populations where there exists no evidence that a decline has as yet started and where evidence of the preconditions for a decline is tenuous at best. What will bring about the stipulated decline to replacement level fertility? The answer is development, Malthusian checks, and population policies can help bring about the fertility trends which are built into the UN projections.
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