619

**Bayesian Demography:**

Projecting the Iraqi Kurdish
Population, 1977-1990

**Beth Osborne Daponte, Joseph B. Kadane, and
Lara J. Wolfson**

### Abstract:

*A typical population projection involves performing the arithmetic
calculations to project a population from time T to time S (S>T),
given a set of assumptions about such population characteristics as
fertility, mortality, and migration. These projections are often used
as forecasts, yet they are valid forecasts only if the initial set of
assumptions hold throughout the projection period. In this paper, we
propose a Bayesian population projection technique that incorporates a
demographer's uncertainty about the characteristics of a population in
the form of elicited prior distributions. This method is particularly
useful in populations where census data is sparse or unreliable. We
illustrate the methods, from the elicitation of the prior uncertainty
to the interpretation of the resulting population distributions, on the
Kurdish population of Iraq during the time period 1977-1990.
**
**Keywords:* Elicitation, Forecasting, Cohort-Component
Projections, Census Data, Subjective Opinion, Vital Rates.

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