Interpreting UN Urbanization Projections Using Multi-state Model

O'Neill, B.C. & Scherbov, S. ORCID: (2006). Interpreting UN Urbanization Projections Using Multi-state Model. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-06-012

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The United Nations provides the most comprehensive and widely used projections of urbanization at the national level, based on a method that projects differences in urban and rural growth rates over time. Taking the case of China as an illustration, we use a multi-state model to explore the implications of this projection for rural-urban migration, its plausibility, and the uncertainty associated with it. We find net that the UN urbanization projection implies a net rural-urban migration path of just over 10 million per year for the next 20 years, followed by a substantial decline over the 2020s. We also find that alternative migration scenarios can produce a wide range of outcomes for urbanization and for the age structures of rural and urban populations, suggesting that urbanization projections that reflect a full range of uncertainty are desirable. Given the range of possible outcomes for rural and urban age structures - some of which are unlikely or infeasible - it appears advisable that urbanization projections should explicitly model these populations and the age structure of migration.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Population and Climate Change (PCC)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:39
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:19

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