Volume 13 Issue 4 (December-February 1997)

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Further thoughts on simplicity and complexity in population projection models

Smith, S.K.
Pages 557-565

This article is a review of-and response to-a special issue of Mathematical Population Studies that focused on the relative performance of simpler vs. more complex population projection models. I do not attempt to summarize or comment on each of the articles in the special issue, but rather present an additional perspective on several points: definitions of simplicity and complexity, empirical evidence regarding population forecast accuracy, the costs and benefits of disaggregation, the potential benefits of combining forecasts, criteria for evaluating projection models, and issues of economic efficiency in the production of population projections. I believe that further discussion of these and related topics will deepen our understanding of the projection process and make population projections more useful for planning and analysis.

Keywords: Demography , Population forecasting , Forecast errors , Comparative methods , Combining forecasts , Evaluation of errors
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