Testing a simple averaged model for local and regional population forecasts

Thomas Wilson

Research output: Working paper


Local and regional population forecasts inform a wide range of planning and
budgeting activities, including those concerning educational provision, health
facilities, electoral redistricting, and business location decisions. Unfortunately
such forecasts often prove to be quite inaccurate. The aim of this paper is to
evaluate a simple model for forecasting local and regional total populations in
Australia which takes the average of two extrapolative methods. This is the
Constant Share of Population – Variable Share of Growth (CSP-VSG) model,
shown to have performed well at the local area scale in earlier research. This study extends that earlier work, making use of recently available historical local area population estimates. It reports on retrospective tests of the averaged model over several forecasting periods, and at three geographical scales. Forecasts are produced for three ten year forecast horizons and comparisons are made with simple linear extrapolation. It is shown that for all geographical scales and forecast horizons, the averaged model generally produces more accurate population forecasts than linear extrapolation. It is argued that the CSP-VSG averaged model is a useful addition to the population forecaster’s toolkit as it produces forecasts of respectable accuracy with low input data requirements and production costs.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGeneva
PublisherEconomic Commission for Europe
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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