Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 1426
One of the most important social achievements that took place in the second half of XX century in almost all the developing countries was the mortality reduction. This benefited all age groups and brought about a large increase in life expectancy. Also, this has resulted that more and more people reached advanced ages. This change was followed by a marked fertility decline. Both had occurred in a short period of time andaffected the speed of the population growth rate (diminishing it) and the age distribution (ageing it). Due to this, it is necessary that projections should be always updated. The paper compares the results of five population forecasts previously done bythe authors and presents the results of a new one. All the projections point to a reduction in population growth rates and a fast population ageing, including, here,the ageing of very old population (80 years and plus). However, the population growth rates and also the proportions of the population of the several age groups in the total of the population varies according to the intensity assumed for the fertility decline. As regard the figures of the total population, the more recent population forecasts point to a lower expected figure compared to the older ones. This difference is explained by the different fertility rates that were assumed. Marked differences are also found in the age composition, mainly, in the proportion of population aged less than15 years. It was shown that fertility is the variable that plays the most important role in the population dynamics. Mortality exerts a lesser impact It seems clear that for the first half of this century, the movement of the Brazilian population is that of fast contraction and over ageing. It will have to reach its maximum point in the next 20 years. This will not occur only if fertility resumes to grow. On the other hand, given that population forecasts are considered as important inputs to estimate demands of public and private services, they should be continuously update.