Population Review:  Published since 1957             

Volume 58, Number 2, 2019                          Call for Papers

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Comparing Artificial Neural Network and Cohort-Component Models for Population Forecasts

Viktoria Riiman, Amalee Wilson, Reed Milewicz, Peter Pirkelbauer

Abstract

Artificial neural network (ANN) models are rarely used to forecast population in spite of their growing prominence in other fields. We compare the forecasts generated by ANN long short-term memory models (LSTM) with population projections from the traditional cohort-component method (CCM) for counties in Alabama, USA. The evaluation includes projections for all 67 counties, which are diverse in population and socioeconomic characteristics. When comparing projected values with total population counts from the 2010 decennial census, the CCM used by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama in 2001 produced comparable or better results than a basic multi-county ANN LSTM model. Results from ANN models improve when we use single-county models or proxy for a forecaster’s experience and personal judgment with potential economic forecasts. The results indicate the significance of forecaster’s experience/judgment for CCM and the difficulty, but not impossibility, of substituting these insights with available data.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Is Fertility Preference Related to Perception of the Risk of Child Mortality, Changes in Landholding, and Type of Family? A Comparative Study on Populations Vulnerable and not Vulnerable to Extreme Weather Events in Bangladesh

Shah Md. Atiqul Haq, Khandaker Jafor Ahmed

Abstract

This study addresses how perception of risk of child mortality, land ownership and household type influence fertility preferences. The study focuses on four distinct villages: two vulnerable to cyclones and floods and two not usually subject to the impacts of extreme weather events (EWEs). The study uses a mixed-methods approach in collecting relevant information from 759 randomly selected ever-married women at reproductive age who had at least one child and were living with their husband during the field survey. The descriptive findings demonstrate that fertility preferences vary regarding perceived risk of child death, land ownership and household type, and that the influences of these factors vary for areas vulnerable to EWEs and not vulnerable to EWEs. Binary logistic regression analysis reveals that perceived risk of child death from EWEs and land ownership are the significant covariates in areas vulnerable to EWEs. In contrast, experience with child death, land ownership and household type are the most influential covariates explaining variation in fertility preferences in the areas not vulnerable to EWEs. The findings of the study can inform policy recommendations in terms of effective disaster management programs and family planning initiatives during climate-related events.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Parental Mortality and Outcomes among Minor and Adult Children

David A. Weaver

Abstract

In this paper, I take advantage of newly available data in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to document outcomes among individuals with deceased parents. I focus first on minors and find that about 2 million children in the United States have a biological mother or father who is deceased. This is the first direct estimate of the size of the orphan population in the United States. Relative to children with both parents living, these maternal and paternal orphans have less favorable educational and health outcomes but similar levels of economic well-being. I find the Social Security program provides extensive (but not universal) support to the child survivor population, with participation in the program potentially affected by the earnings of deceased parents prior to death and by awareness of benefit eligibility by adult members in the child’s household. Similar to outcomes for child survivors, I find adult respondents who have deceased parents at the time of the SIPP have less favorable educational and health outcomes. In contrast to child survivors, adults with deceased parents – across a wide range of age groups – are more likely to have low levels of economic well-being. I also find, by examining a past legislative change in Social Security student benefits that would have affected several cohorts in the SIPP, that financial resources available to young adult survivors have effects on educational attainment and effects on income much later in life.

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On the Inside



RESEARCH ARTICLE

Estimating the Underlying Infant Mortality Rates for Small Populations, Including those Reporting Zero Infant Deaths: A Case Study of Counties in California

David A. Swanson, Augustine Kposowa, Jack Baker

Abstract

Infant mortality is an important population health statistic that is often used to make health policy decisions. For a small population, an infant mortality rate is subject to high levels of uncertainty and may not indicate the “underlying” mortality regime affecting the population. This situation leads some agencies to either not report infant mortality for these populations or report infant mortality aggregated over space, time or both. A method is presented for estimating “underlying” infant mortality rates that reflect the intrinsic mortality regimes of small populations. The method is described and illustrated in a case study by estimating IMRs for the 15 counties in California where zero infant deaths are reported at the county level for the period 2009–2011. We know that among these 15 counties there are 50 infant deaths reported at the state level but not for the counties in which they occurred. The method’s validity is tested using a synthetic population in the form of a simulated data set generated from a model life table infant mortality rate, representing Level 23 of the West Family Model Life Table for both sexes. The test indicates that the method is capable of producing estimates that represent underlying rates. In this regard, the method described here may assist in the generation of information about the health status of small populations.

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FEATURED AUTHOR

Shah Md Atiqul Haq (PhD) is currently a professor in the Department of Sociology at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Bangladesh. He recently completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship (FNRS) at the Demographic Research Centre, Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium. His professional experience in higher education includes research and teaching at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Bangladesh, City University of Hong Kong, and UCL at Louvain, Belgium. 
In 2013, he was awarded a PhD from the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. His thesis combined ideas and understandings on society and the environment with a population studies component. Prior to his doctoral studies, he completed a master’s thesis in human ecology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The studies he did at VUB, along with his training in sociology at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Bangladesh, inspired him to conduct multidisciplinary research on the environment and society, population dynamics and climate change.
Since earning his doctorate, he has published several articles on the relationship between populations in Bangladesh and extreme weather events. Notably, one  of his publications, in Natural Hazards, on the socio-demographic dimensions of perceptions about climate change, received the Gold Medal Award from the University Grant Commission (UGC), Bangladesh, and the Vice Chancellor’s Award from SUST, Bangladesh. 
According to Shah Md Atiqul Haq, it timely and important to examine the dimensions of population dynamics and climate change, such as the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on fertility dynamics, mortality differentials, and migration decisions. In the near future, he plans on pursuing empirical research across a wide range of fields, including human-environment relations and environmental management, demography, population and sustainable development, environment and society, and urban green spaces and environmental sustainability.

FEATURED ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER


John Casterline
is a member of our advisory board.  He is Robert T. Lazarus Professor in Population Studies, Department of Sociology, Ohio State University.  He is also the Director of the Institute for Population Research.  Over the past three decades, Professor Casterline has investigated the causes and consequences of fertility decline in developing countries. His current research focuses on fertility theory and methods, demographic transition in mid- and low-income societies, reproductive change in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Arab region, and unintended fertility (measurement, causes, consequences).

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NEWSWORTHY
Prestigious Award
Alejandro Portes, the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Princeton University and an AAPSS Fellow, is the recipient of the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award in the Social Sciences. The Princess of Asturias Awards were established “to contribute to, encourage, and promote scientific, cultural, and humanistic values that form part of humankind’s universal heritage” and are the highest form of recognition bestowed by the Spanish Crown and among the most important prizes awarded in the European Union.
The award was presented in October at an academic ceremony held in Oviedo, capital of the Principality of Asturias, by Princess Leonor and King Felipe VI of Spain.  For several decades, Portes has been one of the leading experts on migration, studying the economic lives, health care, and political organization of immigrant communities. 
Portes founded the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University. He is president of the Eastern Sociological Society and former president of the American Sociological Association.
His current research focuses on the adaptation process of the immigrant second generation in comparative perspective, the role of institutions on national development, and immigration and the American health system.
 

Research Note
Dr. Vijayashri (Vijaya) Sripati, visiting scholar at the University of Toledo, is in the process of researching the holdings and contents of the papers and library of the late Dr. Sripati Chandrasekhar, now archived at the University’s Canaday Center. 
Chandrasekhar was a world-renowned Indian demographer and former Minister of Health and Family Planning, (1969-1972) in the government of the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi.  Sripati’s research aims to draw international attention to the Chandrasekhar Collection as a unique and valuable resource for understanding the growth, development and control of India’s population.  Her work will analytically describe the collection and outline the ways it speaks to the history of Indian demography, China-India ties, public health, international law and more.
For information, contact Dr. Vijaya Sripati:   sripativ2000@yahoo.com; vschandracollection@gmail.com