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A Stochastic Sub-national Population Projection Methodology with an Application to the Waikato Region of New Zealand

Michael Cameron and Jacques Poot

Population Studies Centre Discussion Papers from University of Waikato, Te Ngira Institute for Population Research

Abstract: In this paper we use a stochastic population projection methodology at the sub-national level as an alternative to the conventional deterministic cohort-component method. We briefly evaluate the accuracy of previous deterministic projections and find that there is a tendency for these to be conservative: under-projecting fast growing populations and over-projecting slow growing ones. We generate probabilistic population projections for five demographically distinct administrative areas within the Waikato region of New Zealand, namely Hamilton City, Franklin District, Thames-Coromandel District, Otorohanga District and South Waikato District. Although spatial interaction between the areas is not taken into account in the current version of the methodology, a consistent set of cross-regional assumptions is used. The results are compared to official sub-national deterministic projections. The accuracy of sub-national population projections is in New Zealand strongly affected by the instability of migration as a component of population change. Unlike the standard cohort-component methodology, in which net migration levels are projected, the key parameters of our stochastic methodology are age-gender-area specific net migration rates. The projected range of rates of population growth is wider for smaller regions and/or regions more strongly affected by net migration. Generally, the identified and modelled uncertainty makes the traditional ‘mid range’ scenario of sub-national population projections of limited use for policy analysis or planning beyond a relatively short projection horizon. Directions for further development of a stochastic sub-national projection methodology are suggested.

Keywords: cohort-component model; stochastic simulation; population; fertility; mortality; migration; sub-national area (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J11 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2010-03-31
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