An Econometric Analysis of Population Change in Arkansas

Thomas M. Fullerton, David A. Ramirez, Adam G. Walke


Purpose - This study aims to model the components of population growth in Arkansas and to forecast the state’s population through 2017.

Approach - A structural econometric model is developed and used to generate ex-ante forecasts.  The model includes equations for births, deaths, and net migration.  These three variables, in combination with population in the previous year, are used to estimate current-year population.

Findings - Births and deaths are found to contain strong inertial components and to follow national demographic trends.  Net migration also contains an inertial component and is affected by labor market conditions in Arkansas relative to those of the United States as a whole.

Research Implications - One contribution of the paper is the selection of model functional form based upon deviance information criterion.  Furthermore, results of out of sample simulations indicate that the modeling approach employed can potentially handle both the cyclical and the structural factors that typically affect regional population change.

Practical Implications - This analysis sheds light on demographic dynamics in a relatively understudied region of the United States.  Regional population forecasts are potentially useful in planning for the provision of infrastructure and public services.  

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