Producers of population forecasts acknowledge the uncertainty inherent in trying to predict the future and should warn about the likely error of their forecasts. Confidence intervals represent one way of quantifying population forecast error. Most of the work in this area relates to national forecasts; although, confidence intervals have been developed for state and county forecasts. A few studies have examined subcounty forecast error, however, they only measured point estimates of error. This paper describes a technique for making subcounty population forecasts and for generating confidence intervals around their forecast error. It also develops statistical equations for calculating point estimates and confidence intervals for areas with different population sizes. A non-linear, inverse relationship between population size and forecast accuracy was found and we demonstrate the ability to accurately predict average forecast error and confidence intervals based on this relationship.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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