Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population

Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population

by John Bongaarts, Rodolfo A. Bulatao, Panel on Population Projections, Committee on Population
     
 

ISBN-10: 0309069904

ISBN-13: 9780309069908

Pub. Date: 09/08/2000

Publisher: National Academies Press

Is rapid world population growth actually coming to an end? As population growth and its consequences have become front-page issues, projections of slowing growth from such institutions as the United Nations and the World Bank have been called into question.

Beyond Six Billion asks what such projections really say, why they say it, whether they can be

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Overview

Is rapid world population growth actually coming to an end? As population growth and its consequences have become front-page issues, projections of slowing growth from such institutions as the United Nations and the World Bank have been called into question.

Beyond Six Billion asks what such projections really say, why they say it, whether they can be trusted, and whether they can be improved. The book includes analysis of how well past U.N. and World Bank projections have panned out, what errors have occurred, and why they have happened.

Focusing on fertility as one key to accurate projections, the committee examines the transition from high, constant fertility to low fertility levels and discusses whether developing countries will eventually attain the very low levels of births now observed in the industrialized world. Other keys to accurate projections, predictions of lengthening life span and of the impact of international migration on specific countries, are also explored in detail.

How good are our methods of population forecasting? How can we cope with the inevitable uncertainty? What population trends can we anticipate? Beyond Six Billion illuminates not only the forces that shape population growth but also the accuracy of the methods we use to quantify these forces and the uncertainty surrounding projections.

The Committee on Population was established by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1983 to bring the knowledge and methods of the population sciences to bear on major issues of science and public policy. The committee's work includes both basic studies of fertility, health and mortality, and migration; and applied studies aimed at improving programs for the public health and welfare in the United States and in developing countries. The committee also fosters communication among researchers in different disciplines and countries and policy makers in government, international agencies, and private organizations. The work of the committee is made possible by funding from several government agencies and private foundations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780309069908
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publication date:
09/08/2000
Pages:
258
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Executive Summary1
Current World Projections2
Accuracy of Past Projections3
Fertility5
Mortality7
International Migration8
The Uncertainty of Projections9
Implications11
1Introduction15
Overview of World Projections17
Forces Driving Population Growth24
How Population Projections Are Made29
All Projections Suffer from Uncertainty32
Guide to the Report34
References35
2The Accuracy of Past Projections37
Projected Population Size38
Correlates of Projection Errors40
Projected Age Structures45
Projected Component Rates46
Conclusions50
References52
3Transitional Fertility53
Fertility Change in Developing Regions53
Reasons for Fertility Decline56
Current Methods of Projecting Fertility63
Fertility Transition in the 21st Century68
Conclusions75
References78
4Posttransition Fertility83
Fertility Levels and Past Trends84
Projected Fertility Trends87
Interpreting Fertility Trends91
Explaining Fertility Trends97
Possible Policy Responses101
Future Technological Developments104
Conclusions106
References108
5Mortality114
Current Levels of Life Expectancy115
Mortality Transition117
Mortality Projections127
Future Trends in Life Expectancy135
Conclusions146
References150
6International Migration156
Current Levels and Trends157
Future Migration Trends168
Projecting Migration174
Improving Migration Projections177
Conclusions182
References185
7The Uncertainty of Population Forecasts188
The Scenario Approach and Its Problems190
Thinking About Forecast Errors194
Three Approaches to Constructing Predictive Distributions200
New Estimates of Uncertainty Based on Ex Post Analysis206
Conclusions214
References216
Biographical Sketches218
Index225
Appendices
AComputer Software Packages for Projecting Population237
BAccuracy of Population Projections from the 1970s to the 1990s254
CPredicting the Pace of Fertility Decline303
DThe Effect of Projection Error in Life Expectancy315
ESimulating Migration Projections318
FEstimating Expected Errors from Past Errors326

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