"This paper presents a stochastic version of the demographic cohort-component method of forecasting future population. In this model the sizes of future age-sex groups are non-linear functions of random future vital rates. An approximation to their joint distribution can be obtained using linear approximations or simulation. A stochastic formulation points to the need for new empirical work on both the autocorrelations and the cross-correlations of the vital rates. Problems of forecasting declining mortality and fluctuating fertility are contrasted. A volatility measure for fertility is presented. The model can be used to calculate approximate prediction intervals for births using data from deterministic cohort-component forecasts. The paper compares the use of expert opinion in mortality forecasting with simple extrapolation techniques to see how useful each approach has been in the past. Data from the United States suggest that expert opinion may have caused systematic bias in the forecasts."