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Bayesian population reconstruction of female populations for less developed and more developed countries

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We show that Bayesian population reconstruction, a recent method for estimating past populations by age, works for data of widely varying quality. Bayesian reconstruction simultaneously estimates age-specific population counts, fertility rates, mortality rates, and net international migration flows from fragmentary data, while formally accounting for measurement error. As inputs, Bayesian reconstruction uses initial bias-reduced estimates of standard demographic variables. We reconstruct the female populations of three countries: Laos, a country with little vital registration data where population estimation depends largely on surveys; Sri Lanka, a country with some vital registration data; and New Zealand, a country with a highly developed statistical system and good quality vital registration data. In addition, we extend the method to countries without censuses at regular intervals. We also use it to assess the consistency of results between model life tables and available census data, and hence to compare different model life table systems.
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Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical model; cohort reconstruction; demographic estimation; fertility; international migration; model life table; mortality; vital registration data

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Auckland University of Technology, 2: University of Washington, 3: United Nations Population Division,

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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