Demographic Forecasting with POPGROUP
Date: 15-16th May 2014
Duration: 2 days (10am — 4:30pm)
Course Fee: £390 (£280 for those from educational and charitable institutions)
CCSR offers 5 free places to research staff and students within the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Manchester and the North West Doctoral Training Centre.
Course Leader: Ludi Simpson
Course Requirements: A familiarity with Excel workbooks of multiple sheets which are used in all practical sessions. Familiarity with demographic concepts and UK demographic data is not essential but is helpful, and may have been gained professionally or through CCSR introductory courses Demographic Concepts and Methods, and Population Estimating and Forecasting, running in the same week as this course.
The course introduces the standard methods of forecasting population, households and the labour force, each with age and sex detail, through use of the POPGROUP software. Most time is spent on the more complex tasks of preparing population forecasts. The focus is on sub-national forecasts for districts of England and Wales, but the principles transfer directly to national forecasts, to sub-national forecasts of other areas, and to social or ethnic groups, each of which are discussed. The emphasis is on hands-on learning through practical sessions that take the participants through the preparation of inputs, running a forecast, analysing results, and adjusting forecasts to implement a range of scenarios or assumptions.
The course will:
- Introduce participants to the POPGROUP software’s capability to store past population estimates as well as to forecast future population, by single year of age and sex for a number of groups, which may be geographical or social.
- Review the standard methods of forecasting population, households and the labour force, as used by national statistical agencies and in local government.
- Introduce participants to the ways in which POPGROUP stores data for each of the components of a forecast: the base population, births, deaths, and up to four flows of migration.
- Provide participants with the knowledge of where government data for each component of a forecast can be found, and the ways in which data are held within the spreadsheets which POPGROUP provides.
- Give participants experience of all stages of population forecasting with POPGROUP software: introducing past data for each component; making assumptions about future trends in fertility, mortality and migration; running a forecast; extracting data from a forecast; adjusting assumptions to reflect new scenarios.
- Consider the impact of an assumption about one of the components of a forecast (births, deaths, migration) on the future development of the other components. In practicals, implement several different scenarios and measure the impact of each.
- Give participants experience of creating household forecasts, and of measuring the impact on population of housing targets and plans.
- Consider strategies for using the output of a forecast to estimate past trends, and to use this information to set assumptions about the future.
- Consider how to develop alternative scenarios which may each be plausible, and to judge their plausibility from past experience.
- Consider the data and strategies available to forecast the population of areas smaller than local authority districts, and to implement such forecasts in the context of strategic land planning.
The course is designed for those who are about to use POPGROUP software, or who have used it without training and wish to consolidate and extend their knowledge. The majority of participants have been from local authorities and other governmental organisations who wish to monitor and forecast sub-national populations. However, the course is designed to also support those whose interest is national projections or projections of social groups and who wish to become sufficiently familiar with the software to work independently after the course.
After the course
An email discussion group allows users of POPGROUP software to keep in touch with each other, and to ask further questions about forecasting and use of POPGROUP.
- Simpson, L (2006) Integrating estimates within population forecasts. Research Methods Programme Working Paper 18. http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/methods/publications/documents/WP18.pdf
- POPGROUP online training course materials at: http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/popgroup/training.html#online (these cover most of the practicals from this course)
- C Newell, Methods and Models of Demography, London 1988.
- Brian Field and Bryan MacGregor, Forecasting techniques for urban and regional planning, UCL Press, 1987.
- The POPGROUP software has information on its website: http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/popgroup
Pre-Course Reading Download here