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Bayesian Reconstruction of Past Populations and Vital Rates for Developing and Developed Countries

13th November 2013 12pm, University of Southampton 58/2097

Adrian Raftery, University of Washington

I will describe Bayesian population reconstruction, a new method for estimating past populations by age and sex, with fully probabilistic statements of uncertainty. It simultaneously estimates age-specific population counts, vital rates and net migration from fragmentary data while formally accounting for measurement error. As inputs, it takes initial bias-corrected estimates of age-specific population counts, vital rates and net migration. The output is a joint posterior probability distribution which yields fully probabilistic interval estimates of past vital rates and population numbers by age and sex. It is designed for the kind of data commonly collected in demographic surveys and censuses and can be applied to countries with widely varying levels of data quality. This is joint work with Mark Wheldon, Patrick Gerland and Samuel Clark.