Volume 38 - Article 60 | Pages 1843–1884 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Probabilistic projection of subnational total fertility rates

By Hana Sevcikova, Adrian E. Raftery, Patrick Gerland

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Date received:09 Mar 2017
Date published:08 Jun 2018
Word count:5607
Keywords:autoregressive model, Bayesian hierarchical model, correlation, scaling model, subnational projections, total fertility rate (TFR)
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2018.38.60
Additional files:readme.38-60 (text file, 727 Byte)
 38-60_supplementary materials (pdf file, 11 MB)
 demographic-research.38-60 (zip file, 108 kB)
 

Abstract

Background: We consider the problem of probabilistic projection of the total fertility rate (TFR) for subnational regions.

Objective: We seek a method that is consistent with the UN’s recently adopted Bayesian method for probabilistic TFR projections for all countries and works well for all countries.

Methods: We assess various possible methods using subnational TFR data for 47 countries.

Results: We find that the method that performs best in terms of out-of-sample predictive performance and also in terms of reproducing the within-country correlation in TFR is a method that scales each national trajectory from the national predictive posterior distribution by a region-specific scale factor that is allowed to vary slowly over time.

Conclusions: Probabilistic projections of TFR for subnational units are best produced by scaling the national projection by a slowly time-varying region-specific scale factor. This supports the hypothesis of Watkins (1990, 1991) that within-country TFR converges over time in response to country-specific factors, and thus extends the Watkins hypothesis to the last 50 years and to a much wider range of countries around the world.

Contribution: We have developed a new method for probabilistic projection of subnational TFR that works well and outperforms other methods. This also sheds light on the extent to which within-country TFR converges over time.

Author's Affiliation

Hana Sevcikova - University of Washington, United States of America [Email]
Adrian E. Raftery - University of Washington, United States of America [Email]
Patrick Gerland - United Nations, United States of America [Email]

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