Options Magazine, Winter 2022: Researchers illustrated the discrepancies in migration flow statistics across Europe to help standardize data and better understand migration patterns.

Monitoring migration data can tell us how populations are shifting from one area to another. More importantly, this data can also help explain why these populations are moving. For example, they may be escaping areas with social or civil unrest, or they may be chasing better economic prospects.

To properly monitor and manage migration flows, researchers need accurate data. However, there have historically been discrepancies in reported migration flow data. Many of these discrepancies center around data reported by receiving countries on the number of arrivals by their country of origin and data reported by the sending countries on number of departing migrants by country of destination.

In a study published in the journal Regional Studies, Regional Science, IIASA Population and Just Societies Program researchers, Guy Abel and Dilek Yildiz, graphically illustrate the discrepancies between sending and receiving migration flow statistics provided to Eurostat by European countries. They found a reduction of the discrepancies between receiving and sending migration flow data after the implementation of regulations to improve the availability and comparability of migration data.

"European international migration flow statistics are collected by different data sources in different countries and have varying levels of quality,” says Yildiz. “Since the implementation of the European  Parliament’s legal framework for improved migration statistics in 2007, the discrepancies in sending and receiving migration flow data have reduced. It is clear we must continue to improve the process for collecting data so that we can accurately study these migration flows.”

by Jeremy Summers