Difference Between Forecasting and Prediction

Knowing about the future is one of the most intriguing aspects that mankind wants to figure out. The estimation of values and probabilities of favorable outcomes is all concerning the future.


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With the inculcation of the thought of prediction comes the concept of forecasting and prediction.

The 2 words mostly seem the same. They are not very complex and in general terminology, most people confuse the 2 words to be the same. But, as a matter of fact, are very much different.

This is because their usage comes in different contexts.

Key Takeaways

  1. Forecasting is estimating future trends based on past data and statistical analysis, while prediction involves making guesses about future events based on intuition and observation.
  2. Forecasting is used in various fields, such as finance, economics, and weather forecasting, while prediction is used in sports, politics, and entertainment.
  3. Forecasting provides a more reliable estimate of future events, while prediction is more subjective and can be influenced by personal biases.

Forecasting vs Prediction

The difference between forecasting and prediction is that forecasting is a branch of prediction. This is because forecasting concerns the gathering of past and present data in order to find out the outcomes for the future while predictions are not always about the future, ie, this is not bounded by any kind of time, like past or present.

Forecasting vs Prediction

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonForecastingPrediction
Concerning FactorForecasting revolves around future outcomes.Prediction is not necessarily concerned about the future.
Data GatheredForecasting involves the gathering of past and present data to find future outcomes.Predictions are not based on the past rather they just give the possibility of the outcome. 
OutcomeThe outcomes, in this case, will be a future scenario based on the actions of the past.The outcomes, in this case, are the logical analysis in order to estimate the happening of any event.
LogicalForecasting finds out the logical outcome with the help of analysis based on the past and present.Predictions can be illogical and in some cases, they can be 
ApplicationForecasting is only applicable and useful in economical and meteorological fields.Predication is applied in a majority of fields as long as there is a presence of a favorable or desired outcome.

What is Forecasting?

Forecasting is one of those methods which involve the proper analysis of a given data, and then, finding the outcome on the basis of that analysis, in the future.

For example, forecasting the impact of a meteor on earth based on its speed and structure.

So, if we speak in general terms, it can be said that forecasting is the prediction of an outcome that will happen in the future based on the behavior and the facts in the past and the present.

It is a very beneficial method that is used in the field of economics and meteorology. Along with this, weather forecasting is also very popular among the people and hence, quite beneficial too.

What is Prediction?

Prediction is a method to provide an explanation of the possibility of an event in the future. This means that it provides the chances of an outcome based on the favorability of it.

So, as long as there is an outcome, there will be a prediction about it.

The word is derived from the Latin word ‘pre’ meaning before and ‘dicer’ meaning say. The usage of this method is widely known.

The people who are involved in economical deals or company professionals are often known to hire experts in times of uncertainty to predict the future.

Main Differences Between Forecasting and Prediction

  1. Forecasting mainly revolves around the future outcomes and hence, is considered as the method to find out the results in the following days. Prediction on the other hand includes the future but, is not limited to it. One can predict the outcomes of a certain situation that is happening or has happened.
  2. Forecasting takes into account the past as well as the present so as to determine the future. This means that if an expert is asked to forecast the weather of a particular place, he or she will look at the current weather patterns and the weather patterns from the earlier weeks to ensure the weather pattern of the following day. If we talk about prediction, it is not related to the data of the past.
  3. The outcome, in the case of forecasting, will be a future event that can happen based on the analysis of the current day and the days that have passed. Whereas, the prediction will give the chances of the happening of a particular event at any point in time.
  4. The forecasting analysis is more logical as compared to the prediction analysis. This means that prediction can be odd at times and it not necessary that it makes sense or is practically applicable. So, in general, prediction involves running of numbers while forecasting considers the practical implications as well.
  5. Forecasting has found its usage in the field of meteorology and economics. If an organization is in deep trouble and needs a helping hand in times of uncertainty, forecasting will be much beneficial than predictions. Predictions on the other hand can be used in almost any sector. It has a wide range of usage and therefore, is implemented to a larger extent to find out the chances of happening of a favorable condition. As long as there is a favorable condition, there will be a prediction.
Difference Between Forecasting and Prediction
  1. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004GMS…150..335J/abstract
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1974-02325-001
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