Table of Contents
International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 658157, 9 pages
Research Article

Population Projections for Sparsely Populated Areas: Reconciling “Error” and Context

Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia

Received 24 March 2014; Revised 4 September 2014; Accepted 5 September 2014; Published 14 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jonathan Haughton

Copyright © 2014 Andrew Taylor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Population projections are increasingly utilised as tools for understanding and modelling the economic, social, and environmental futures of sparsely populated areas. This study examines issues around “fit for purpose” for the application of projections to remote contexts. We focus on projections made for the Northern Territory of Australia, a jurisdiction in the north of the country, to assess the relative accuracy of projections over time. The results conclusively demonstrate the reduced accuracy of remote population projections. Nevertheless, the exercise of comparing and contrasting the accuracy of projections provides a useful lens for understanding demographic and other issues which necessitate that approaches for developing and utilising projections can and should be different in sparsely populated areas. We provide examples of alternative approaches to projections and the analysis of errors which researchers and analysts in sparsely populated areas might apply to other jurisdictions.