"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The AIMS report (I)

The demographic report released on Monday by the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies will leave the Eighth Floor wondering (yet again) whether AIMS, once the enabler in the Great Patriotic War Over Equalization, is a friend, and enemy, or a frienemy.

The AIMS research team of Denton, Feaver and Spencer ran six different demographic projections, under a variety of input assumptions, to forecast population triends in all four Atlantic provinces between now and 2046.

Projection A assumed no major change in recent demographic triends. Projection B was the most dismal population projection for Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of the experimental window in 2046. It assumed the continuation of interprovincial migration trends seen between 2003 and 2008. (The authors offer the caveat that they do not actually expect the assumption in Projection B to hold true for the entire period.) On the other hand, Projection D was the most optimistic come 2046, owing to a change in the input which assumed a turnaround in fertility rates. The three options are shown on the following chart, along with the thick blue line, which shows the actual population as recorded in the census up to 2006 inclusive. The provincial government, through the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency, has also been in the population-projection business, though it will only project outwards to 2026. It has made projections for the provincial population under three different assumptions, which it calls "High", "Medium", and "Low". Only the optimistic "High" projection shows any population growth over the planning window, and even that is very modest. The three projections are graphed here, again with the recent census population.

And here are both sets of demographic experimentation (Statistics Agency figures are the shorter, thicker lines; AIMS' projections are the longer, thinner ones.) Yet again, the observed census population, going back to the pre-Confederation censuses as early as 1884, are also shown.

Even in the shorter window set by the 2026 cut-off, the middle-of-the-road AIMS projection is at least as pessimistic than the most pessimistic of the official government demographer's assumptions. The most optimistic AIMS scenario falls well short of the "High" assumptions proffered by the NLSA.

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At 7:23 AM, November 17, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

This information is not new. It should come as no surprise to anyone vaguely interested and aware of local policy issues.

The policy implications are also well known.

They have been for a decade or more.

So how come the current crowd didn't notice any of this stuff before they embarked on what even their own ministers now say was the unsound financial mamanagement of the province?

I mean it is a pretty odd notion that you would change your cash flows adversely at the very time when your costs started to rise and would continue to rise predictably.


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