Population projections

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To predict future population trends, demographers produce population projections, also called population forecasts, based on assumptions relating to birth rates, death rates and migration. Population projections provide information concerning the future. They illustrate how current structures and trends already apparent will affect the population in the future.

It usually takes several decades for demographic trends to take full effect, meaning that population projections generally cover long periods. However, as changes in birth rates, death rates and migration become harder to predict the further into the future you look, population projections become more prognostic in nature as time horizons lengthen.

Other unforeseeable changes in birth rates, mortality and migration can also significantly alter predictions. Changes in societal values and norms, medical advances, diseases and epidemics, wars, environmental catastrophes and many other factors can totally change the elements on which a projection is based, resulting in a quite different population structure from that forecast.

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