How do the 2015 Population Projections differ from the 2012 Projections?

Last week we posted an overview of the 7 Things to Know About the 2015 Population Projections. The post has brought up some interesting questions about how these 2015 projections differ from the projections made by the UN in 2012. The following are some of the more dramatic, interesting, or unexpected changes that came about over the past 3 years:

What is Total Fertility Rate?

According to the Population Reference Bureau, Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is defined as, “the average number of children a women would have assuming that current age-specific birth rates remain constant throughout her childbearing years.” Simply put, total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman would have if a she survives all her childbearing (or reproductive) years. Childbearing years are considered age 15 to 49.

Life Span vs. Life Expectancy

Sometimes the terms “life span” and “life expectancy” are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. So what is the difference between life span and life expectancy?

Life span is the number of years that one person lives. We can calculate an average life span of people in a group if we have birth and death dates for its members. You will have only one life span.


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