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Title: Bayesian Reconstruction of Past Populations for Developing and Developed Countries

  • Speaker: Adrian E. Raftery, University of Washington
  • Date & Time: Thursday, April 24, 11-12 pm
  • Location: Seminar Room 5K410 (Red Area), US Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746
  • Special Instructions: If you wish to attend the seminar and are not a Census Bureau employee, please contact:
    Kelly Taylor
    Email: kelly.l.taylor@census.gov
    Phone: 301-763-4896
  • Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau Center for Statistical Research & Methodology


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. [Census Collaborations: POP (Tori Velkoff, Jason Devine); CSRM (Joseph Schafer, Eric Slud)]