Remittances, usually understood as the money or goods that migrants send back to families and friends in origin countries, are often the most direct and well-known link between migration and development. Remittances exceed official development aid but are private funds. Global estimates of financial transfers by migrants include transactions beyond what are commonly assumed to be remittances, as the statistical definition used for the collection of data on remittances is broader (see IMF, 2009). Also, such estimates do not cover informal transfers. Remittances can also be of social nature, such as the ideas, behaviour, identities, social capital and knowledge that migrants acquire during their residence in another part of the country or abroad, that can be transferred to communities of origin (Levitt, 1998: 927).
International migration flows
Migration flows data capture the number of migrants entering and leaving (inflow and outflow) a country over the course of a specific period, such as one year (UN SD, 2017). Data on migration flows are essential for understanding global migration patterns and how different factors and policies in countries of origin and destination may be related to flows. However, in contrast to migration stocks data, estimates on migration inflows and outflows by country of origin and destination are not available at the global level. Currently, only 45 countries report migration flow data to the United Nations (UN DESA, 2015). Migration flows data on migrants entering and leaving over the course of a given time period (usually a calendar year) are often confused with migration stock data which estimate all migrants residing in a country at a particular point in time (UN SD, 2017, emphasis added).
International migrant stocks
International migrant stocks are estimates of "the total number of international migrants present in a given country at a particular point in time" (UN SD, 2017: 9, emphasis added). United Nations (UN) data on these stocks are based mostly on the country’s population that is born abroad, and (where this information is not available) on holding a foreign citizenship (UN DESA, 2016: 4; UN SD, 2017). Data on migrant stocks are often reported together with data on migrant flows. Although both terms account for the number of migrants, what they measure is different. Migrant flows data account for the number of migrants entering or leaving during a specified time period (usually one calendar year), (UN SD, 2017).
TALKING MIGRATION DATA: The effects of migration data on development
Hein de Haas, Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam, shares his views on data, migration and development. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this video are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the blog do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IOM concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning its frontiers and boundaries.
Leaving no one behind — Disaggregating census data by migration status through IPUMS
The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda calls for United Nations (UN) Member States to “leave no one behind” as they work toward meeting targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To ensure that migrants are not left behind, countries need data disaggregated by migratory status. Censuses are statistically robust sources for such data. However, census data are often not harmonized and census reports often do not disaggregate statistics by migrant status. The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) International project harmonizes and integrates census data, including data on migrants. Kristen Jeffers, Senior Data Analyst, describes IPUMS and the potential it holds for monitoring the SDGs and assessing whether and to what degree migrants are left behind.
TALKING MIGRATION DATA: How does the UN calculate the number of migrants globally?
Bela Hovy, Chief of the Migration Section at UN DESA, talks to GMDAC about how the United Nations calculates the total number of migrants around the world. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this video are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the blog do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IOM concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning its frontiers and boundaries.
10 of the coolest visualizations of migration data
The increasingly complex landscape of international migration data requires visual tools that explain migration issues and trends in an easy-to-understand way. Jasper Tjaden, Data and Survey Officer at IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, shares 10 "cool" visualizations or vizs on migration data that strike an impressive balance between art, communication and migration information.
TALKING MIGRATION DATA: Using big data to understand migration (part 1)
Ingmar Weber, Research Director at Qatar Computing Research Institute, shares his views on the use of big data to understand migration. This interview took place during the workshop "Big Data and alternative data sources on migration: from case studies to policy support", organized by the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD) and IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) on 30 November 2017.