Population forecasting and the importance of being uncertain


27 November 2007


Knibbs Lecture, Canberra


Abstract: Forecasters had an inauspicious beginning, dabbling with divination, sheep’s livers and vapour-ridden caves in the mountains of Greece. Then there was a time when forecasters could be charged with vagrancy! Their reputations are still tarnished, but their tools are rather more effective. Professor Rob Hyndman will argue for the importance of statistical modelling in forecasting, and demonstrate the dangers that occur when uncertainty is ignored. He will consider the importance of prediction intervals in forecasting, and the dangers of “what-if” scenario projections that are popular in business and government. In particular, he will compare the population projections provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics with forecasts based on statistical modelling.

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