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Dataset | 27 April 2021

Wittgenstein Centre population and human capital projections

Global population projections by age; sex and education published by Lutz et al. (2018); which are an update of Lutz; Butz; and K.C. (2014). World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-first Century.

Population projections of educational attainment by age and sex for 201 countries. They are based on a multidimensional generalisation of the cohort-component projection model; which projects populations by cohorts and requires assumptions about future fertility; mortality; migration; and education trends.

The harmonized baseline for the projections is 1 January 2015. Population sizes by age and sex correspond to the 2017 WPP revision. Educational attainment compositions are based on updated WIC educational attainment dataset (Chapter 2 in Lutz et al. 2018).

The new set of projections by levels of educational attainment was produced by a team of researchers at the JRC and at Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital for the CEPAM project (a collaboration of JRC and IIASA). It also includes population projections developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) according to a set of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios. There are two main areas where the new projections advance the state of the art beyond other existing global population projections (those that cover most world countries):

  • They explicitly and systematically incorporate population heterogeneity by level of education; thereby illustrating how educational attainment can and should be routinely added to age and sex as a third demographic dimension.
  • The assumptions about future trends in fertility; mortality; and migration include the scientific input of more than 500 population experts around the world who responded to an online questionnaire and assessed the validity of alternative arguments as well as the conclusions of intensive discussions at five meta-expert meetings.

Version 2.0 (Beta) includes the back projections for 185 countries from 2015 to 1950. More information in Speringer et al. 2019.

The suggested citation for data and plots from this website is: Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital; (2019). Wittgenstein Centre Data Explorer Version 2.0. Available at:

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