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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“To improve significantly the methodology used to generate population change predictions required for effective policy-making for the future.”

The problem

The structure of European populations is changing significantly. There is a steady increase in older population segments and significant changes in the distribution of the younger age groups, which will increasingly bear a disproportionate share of the tax burden for providing healthcare and pension services. Current demographic techniques have significant limitations in the face of these complex population changes. Effective planning and policy-making to cope with the changes will require better methods to analyse population structures and predict how they will develop in the future.

MicMac  Charting the complexities of a silvering population


MicMac will create a system for monitoring and forecasting population changes, to support policy planning for health care and pension services.

The project will

  • Develop a methodology consisting of a macro model of demographic changes at population level, and a micro model of demographic events at the level
    of the individual.
  • Use simulation technology to make projections based on census and survey data and other population statistics
  • Develop user-friendly software to run the models and provide training to forecasters from across Europe
  • Build a self-sustaining European network on ageing

Contribution to policy development:

  • Improved projections of population change as a result of building a bridge between macro-simulation and micro-simulation techniques
  • First ever incorporation of recent advances in statistical analysis in projections that can readily be used
    to inform policy
  • Generation of results that can more easily be communicated to policy-makers and the public
  • Building a European research network that will continue to generate innovations for policy-making

Project deliverables

  • Description of multi-state projection modelling – by month 12
  • New demographic projection models focused on macro and micro levels of population change and individual life events – by month 36
  • User-friendly computer programs for demographic analysis and projection – by month 36
  • Illustrative projections at macro- and micro-level using sample data from the Netherlands and Italy – by month 48
  • Accompanying reports on all aspects of the new models, new software and their uses –
    by month 48


  • Publication of results in scientific journals – as needed
  • Direct communication with the main end-users of the MicMac system, namely EUROSTAT and national statistical officers – ongoing
  • An ‘object library’ of the open-source software, allowing interested parties to access the software and contribute to its further development – ongoing
  • Presentation of results at a final project conference, followed by publication as a book on demographic forecasting methodology –by month 48

Technical information

Project acronym: MicMac
Project’s official full title: Bridging the micro-macro gap in population forecasting
Research priority: 2.1. Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 006637
Start date: 1 May 2005
Kick off meeting: 2 June 2005
Completion date: 30 April 2009
European Commission scientific officer: Jan Paehler,

Name: Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
Abbreviated name: NIDI
Address: P.O. Box 11650, NL-2502 AR, The Hague
Tel: +31 70 356 5200
Fax: +31 70 364 7187


Name: Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Abbreviated name: VID
Country: Austria

Name: Institut National d’Études Démographiques
Abbreviated name: INED
Country: France

Name: Bocconi University
Abbreviated name: BU
Country: Italy

Name: Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Centre
Abbreviated name: EMC
Country: Netherlands

Name: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Abbreviated name: MPIDR
Country: Germany

Name: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Abbreviated name: IIASA
Country: Austria

Name: University of Rostock
Abbreviated name: UROS
Country: Germany