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February 2014 Bayesian Population Projections for the United Nations
Adrian E. Raftery, Leontine Alkema, Patrick Gerland
Statist. Sci. 29(1): 58-68 (February 2014). DOI: 10.1214/13-STS419


The United Nations regularly publishes projections of the populations of all the world’s countries broken down by age and sex. These projections are the de facto standard and are widely used by international organizations, governments and researchers. Like almost all other population projections, they are produced using the standard deterministic cohort-component projection method and do not yield statements of uncertainty. We describe a Bayesian method for producing probabilistic population projections for most countries which are projections that the United Nations could use. It has at its core Bayesian hierarchical models for the total fertility rate and life expectancy at birth. We illustrate the method and show how it can be extended to address concerns about the UN’s current assumptions about the long-term distribution of fertility. The method is implemented in the R packages bayesTFR, bayesLife, bayesPop and bayesDem.


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Adrian E. Raftery. Leontine Alkema. Patrick Gerland. "Bayesian Population Projections for the United Nations." Statist. Sci. 29 (1) 58 - 68, February 2014.


Published: February 2014
First available in Project Euclid: 9 May 2014

zbMATH: 1332.62428
MathSciNet: MR3201847
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/13-STS419

Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical model , cohort component projection method , double logistic function , Leslie matrix , life expectancy , total fertility rate

Rights: Copyright © 2014 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.29 • No. 1 • February 2014
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