POPGROUP is a family of software developed to forecast population, households and the labour force. It is based in Microsoft Excel to build on users' existing spreadsheet skills. Most of its current users are local authorities and the LGA took ownership of POPGROUP in April 2010.
Users develop alternative assumptions as scenarios. The user remains in control of the areas to be forecast, of data inputs, and of analytical outputs additional to the software's own flexible reporting and graphical routines. POPGROUP replicates official projections using data modules, which are circulated to users, covering population and households, with plans for new modules covering illness and disability, the labour force, ethnic groups and adult care. The software adopts authoritative methods also used by national and United Nations agencies, uses single years of age for population, and has two published peer reviews.
The forecasting software comprises two separate elements:
1. POPGROUP – for population projections and forecasts
POPGROUP provides a means to make estimates of the current population and forecasts of the future population for national, sub-national and local areas, for the whole population of an area and for sub-populations including ethnic groups.
Users enter past information and their assumptions about the future for births and fertility, deaths and mortality, and migration into Excel. Information from population estimates can also be incorporated. POPGROUP uses a standard cohort component forecasting method to produce forecasts and provides results in Excel sheets with data extraction and chart routines available.
2. Derived Forecasts – for household, labour force, disability and forecasts of other characteristics related to population age-sex composition.
The Derived Forecast (DF) module incorporates all the features required for household, labour force, illness, disability and other forecasting derived from an age-sex structure of the population. It has the flexibility to accommodate the methods of household projection from each of the four UK statistical agencies.
DF allows data to be entered for any variable that is closely related to the age-sex structure of the population and to prepare projections from these data sources.
POPGROUP User Survey 2013
The LGA's Research and Information team carried out a survey of POPGROUP users in July 2013 on behalf of POPGROUP's Steering Committee. It was conducted in order to provide the steering committee with up-to-date information on the views of users, to inform POPGROUP's next business plan, and help to improve the software, user support, plan future developments, and share ideas on the use of projections. Below is a summary of the survey's findings.
Contacts and costs
For more information about the software, please contact Edge Analytics, which manages POPGROUP under licence from the LGA.