A Bayesian Projection of the Total Fertility Rate of Puerto Rico: 2020-2050

by   Angélica Rosario Santos, et al.

The abrupt decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Puerto Rico since 2000 makes the prospect of a sustained population decline a real possibility. From 2000 to 2021 the TFR declined from 2.1 to 0.9 children per woman, one of the lowest in the world. Population projections produced by the United States Census Bureau and the United Nations Population Division show that the island population may decline from 3.8 millions in 2000 to slightly above 2 million by 2050, a dramatic 47 may be, this may be an optimistic scenario. Both projections have the TFR increasing to 1.5 by 2050, but a fertility projection conducted by us show that fertility can remain much closer to 1.0 until 2050. Bayesian Hierarchical Probabilistic Theory has been used by the United Nations to incorporate a way to measure the uncertainty and to estimate the projection parameters. However, the assumption that the fertility level in countries with low fertility will eventually increase to 2.1 has been widely criticized as unrealistic and not supported by evidence. We modified the assumptions used by the United Nations considering countries with TFR similar to Puerto Rico and find that by 2050 Puerto Rico may have a TFR of 1.1 bounded by a 95 (0.56,1.77). This indicates that there may be a larger population decline than what current projections show.


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