What Went Wrong with the 1991–92 Official Population Projection of Japan?

Seiritsu Ogura

in Aging Issues in the United States and Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780226620817
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226620831 | DOI:
What Went Wrong with the 1991–92 Official Population Projection of Japan?

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This chapter shows that Japanese government demographers failed in their 1991–92 population projection due to a fundamental flaw in their methodology. In fact, if the same methodology is applied to the 1997 projection, there is hardly any need to change their 1991–92 projection. Thus, their methodologically “correct” projection will continue to diverge from reality for another five years, when they are scheduled for another projection. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 12.2 describes the formal demographic model used in the 1991–92 projection and presents the author's own estimates using new data made available since 1992. Section 12.3 formulates a marriage/birth model and explores the possibility of misspecification as a source of the government model's sensitivity to truncation. Section 12.4 formulates the age distribution of marital fertility rates and reports estimation results. Section 12.5 looks at significant changes in the marital behavior of Japanese women that took place in the last twenty years. Section 12.6 analyzes the causes of the decline in the fertility rates observed among three different cohorts almost five years apart, while Section 12.7 provides concluding remarks.

Keywords: government demographers; Japanese government; demographic model; marital behavior; fertility; marriage; birth

Chapter.  9552 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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