Ways to Project Fertility – How Do European Countries Project Fertility and What Are Their Perceptions of Current Practices?

Rebecca Gleditsch , Statistics Norway
Astri Syse, Statistics Norway

Norway is currently considering changing the way we project fertility. This paper aims to describe the different ways various European countries project fertility in their national population projections, to establish a solid basis for deciding the way forward. Data is collected in two steps: First, the Offices of National Statistics (ONSs) in Europe were asked to respond to a questionnaire regarding their current practices. These results were summarized qualitatively. For a quantitative overview, the different methods used by the participating countries were categorized into four broad groups: 1) Model-based, deterministic projections 2) Model-based stochastic projections (frequentist and/or Bayesian approaches); 3) Expert-based projections; 4) Other methods. A descriptive analysis of similarities and differences was performed to assess which methods were most common, how satisfied the ONSs were with their method, the public availability of documentation, and the extent to which the accuracy of the projections was assessed short- and long-term. Second, eight countries were selected for a more in-depth analysis. The countries represent a variety of ways of projecting fertility, to illustrate the range of options available and in use across Europe. We examined readily available information and documentation online, as well as reports and journal articles. For comparison purposes, this study also includes the fertility projection methods utilized by Eurostat and the UN. Strengths and weaknesses associated with the different methods are presented, discussing both the comments and feedback from the ONSs, as well as those emerging in a broader perspective based on the comparisons made in this study.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy