China’s uncertain demographic present and future

Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Qiang Ren, Peking University
Sergei Scherbov, Vienna Institute of Demography
Xiaoying Zheng, Mahidol University

This paper will apply methods of probabilistic population forecasting to assess the range of uncertainty of China’s future population trends. Unlike previous applications of probabilistic population projections that consider stochastic future fertility, mortality and migration, this paper will also account for the significant uncertainty of China’s current fertility level (with estimates ranging from 1.2 to 2.3) and the related uncertainties about the sex ratio at birth (with estimates from 1.06 to above 1.2) and the size of the youngest cohorts in the 2000 census. The model applied in this paper will be based on expert based uncertainty ranges for current conditions, in addition to the probabilistic treatment of future trends. Given the sheer size of China’s population, these significant uncertainties about current conditions are of high importance not only for the future population of China but also on a global scale.

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Presented in Session 77: The demography of Asia