The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Publication Demographic prognoses:
With assumptions into the future

original title: Demografische Prognosen: per Annahme in die Zukunft

Cover: IzR 1/2018

Editor: BBSR Series: Informationen zur Raumentwicklung (IzR) Issue: 1/2018 Published: June 2018 ISSN: 0303-2493 Language: German

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Scientists work with exact data, complex models and modern tools. Nevertheless they sometimes forecast developments which do not occur as expected – especially if they look far into the future. But demographic prognoses are still often valuable.

If prognoses do not occur, this is often due to events that cannot be predicted in a linear manner. One example are the high numbers of refugees between 2014 and 2016, which hardly anybody could have expected before – but which have clear impacts on population numbers, on the housing market or the labour market. Other supra-regional developments such as the re-unification of Germany, financial crises or natural disasters also cannot be incorporated into prognoses in advance.

It is obvious why there is nevertheless a high demand for predictions: political and economic activities are related to the future. Government institutions, public budgets and private firms want to know how society will develop in the future. This is also especially true for urban and spatial planning. And of course prognoses also indicate correct and important trends regardless of the exact figures.

The current issue therefore considers various questions: who prepares prognoses at which levels? How can which prognosis be interpreted? Who uses prognoses and for what purpose? And very important: what can and what cannot the prognosis do? The articles describe the character of prognoses and discuss their possibilities and limitations. Experts describe how prognoses can be properly used and what practitioners require from prognoses.

All articles are in German.

Dr. Claus Schlömer ( ),
Daniel Regnery, Friederike Vogel

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