Spatial weighting improves accuracy in small-area demographic forecasts of urban census tract populations
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- Baker, J., Alcántara, A., Ruan, X. et al. J Pop Research (2014) 31: 345. doi:10.1007/s12546-014-9137-1
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Existing research in small-area demographic forecasting suffers from two important limitations: (1) a paucity of studies that quantify patterns of error in either total or age/sex-specific estimates and (2) limited methodological innovation aimed specifically at improving the accuracy of such forecasts. This paper attempts to fill, in part, these gaps in existing research by presenting a comparative evaluation of the accuracy of standard and spatially-weighted Hamilton–Perry forecasts for urbanized census tracts within incorporated New Mexico municipalities. These comparative forecasts are constructed for a 10-year horizon (base 1 April 2000 and target 1 April 2010), then compared to the results of the 2010 Census in an ex post facto evaluation. Results are presented for the standard Hamilton–Perry forecasts as well as two sets that incorporate two common variants of spatial weights to improve forecast accuracy. Findings are discussed in the context of what is currently known about error in small-area demographic forecasts and with an eye toward continued innovations.