Assumptions for national stochastic population forecasts in 18 European countries
Maarten Alders, Statistics Netherlands
Nico Keilman, University of Oslo
Harri Cruijsen, DEMOCAST
In order to develop and implement stochastic population forecasting for European countries, the European Commission has commissioned the project ‘Changing population of Europe: uncertain future’ to researchers from Joensuu University and the statistical offices of Finland, the Netherlands and Norway. The objective was to develop a general methodology for assessing predictive distributions for fertility, mortality and migration. Generally speaking the assumptions underlying stochastic population forecasts can be assessed by means of analyses of errors of past forecasts, model-based estimates of forecast errors, and expert judgement. All these approaches have been thoroughly investigated in the project. The paper summarises and discusses the results of the different approaches. It demonstrates how the, sometimes conflicting, results can be synthesised into a consistent set of assumptions. Finally, the paper presents the main assumptions about the total fertility rate, life expectancy at birth of men and women, and net migration for 18 European countries.