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IASS Webinar: Population size estimation using administrative data

9 December 2020
Location: Virtual

11:00 am - 12:30pm (CET)

“Multiple system estimation using covariates having missing values and measurement error: estimating the size of the Māori population in New Zealand”



  • Professor Peter van der Heijden 
  • Professor Paul Smith

All are invited to this webinar, organised by the International Association for Survey Statisticians. 

the International Association for Survey Statisticians


We investigate the use of two or more linked registers, or lists, for both population size estimation and investigation of the relationship between variables appearing on all or only some registers. This relationship is usually not fully known because some individuals appear in only some registers, and some are not in any register. These two problems have been solved simultaneously using the EM algorithm. We extend this approach to estimate the size of the indigenous Māori population in New Zealand, leading to several innovations: (1) the approach is extended to four registers (including the population census), where the reporting of Māori status differs between registers; (2) some individuals in one or more registers have missing ethnicity, and we adapt the approach to handle this additional missingness; (3) some registers cover subsets of the population by design. We discuss under which assumptions such structural undercoverage can be ignored and provide a general result; (4) we treat the Māori indicator in each register as a variable measured with error, and embed a latent class model in the multiple system estimation to estimate the population size of a latent variable, interpreted as the true Māori status. Finally, we discuss estimating the Māori population size from administrative data only.

The moderator for the webinar will be James Chipperfield (IASS, Vice President). There will be time for questions. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the IASS website.

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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Biographies of the speakers

Peter van der Heijden is Professor of Statistics in the Department of Methodology and Statistics at the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Utrecht University, and Professor of Social Statistics at the Southampton Statistical Science of the University of Southampton. In Utrecht he is the leader of the focus area of Applied Data Science.

Paul Smith is Professor of Official Statistics in the Dept of Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton and works closely with the Office for National Statistics on a range of projects. He is just finishing a term as Discussion Papers Editor for the Journals of the Royal Statistical Society.