Projections of the Older Population: An Examination of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Projections over Time
Michelle Cheuk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Population aging is one of the most important demographic dynamics affecting families and societies throughout the world. Information on the number of older people and their proportional share of the total population help guide policy makers and planners. Projections of the older population have changed over time as assumptions about future trends in fertility, mortality, and migration have changed. This paper examines several different sets of projections of the 65 and over population and the 85 and over population done at the U.S. Census Bureau. We examine how these projections have changed over time and compare past projections with actual population numbers. We specifically look at assumptions about mortality and compare those assumptions to the observed mortality levels. We examine the changes in assumptions about fertility, mortality, and migration that account for this change.