A comparison of official population projections with Bayesian time series forecasts for England and Wales
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We compare official population projections with Bayesian time series forecasts for England and Wales. The Bayesian approach allows the integration of uncertainty in the data, models and model parameters in a coherent and consistent manner. Bayesian methodology for time-series forecasting is introduced, including autoregressive (AR) and stochastic volatility (SV) models. These models are then fitted to a historical time series of data from 1841 to 2007 and used to predict future population totals to 2033. These results are compared to the most recent projections produced by the Office for National Statistics. Sensitivity analyses are then performed to test the effect of changes in the prior uncertainty for a single parameter. Finally, in-sample forecasts are compared with actual population and previous official projections. The article ends with some conclusions and recommendations for future work.