Advancing knowledge on international migration : data and research needs
Title: Advancing knowledge on international migration : data and research needs
Author: FARGUES, Philippe
Series/Number: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP); 24
From the sheer numbers of migrants to the complex processes that set people on the move and the multiple changes they bring to both origin and destination countries, international migration suffers considerable deficits of knowledge. As international migration connects each country of the world with all the others, addressing knowledge gaps will require international consensus on definitions and methods of data collection. There is a long way to go before this most challenging objective will be reached. The current study describes some of the steps that need to be taken. Defining international migration A proper assessment of international migration data at the world level must be based on a systematic inventory of what exists and what does not in each country. For lack of such an inventory, this report provides an overview assessment of the various criteria used by public administrations to define and produce data on international migration. Documenting international migration Data are generally collected by national administrations to serve their own needs and not those of scientific research or evidence-based policymaking, with the result that data on international migration are too often insufficient and lacking in quality. Policymakers often lack the minimal statistical evidence necessary to make informed decisions, while academics lack the basic data needed for scientific research. This report identifies key issues that should be addressed to improve migration data for policymaking and scientific research. These include: disentangling migrants from travellers and differentiating between short-term mobility and migration; matching entry and exit data; counting emigrants, i.e. absent individuals; counting circular, seasonal and temporary migrants; and measuring irregular migration. These issues often require ad hoc measurement methods such as specialized surveys. Mapping research on international migration Research addresses the causes of international migration, the process of migration itself as well as its consequences; it does so in the countries of origin and destination, as well as in the transnational space spanning origin and destination. This paper outlines 7 priority areas for research on international migration: Determinants of migration in countries of origin; Pull factors in countries of destination; Linkages between countries of origin and destination; Migration stages; Emigrants, as actors of change in countries of origin; The inclusion of migrants and their contribution to development in destination countries; And finally, the global consequences of migration. Conclusions To significantly improve our understanding of international migration, including its multiple determinants, complex processes and diverse impacts, the following challenges need to be addressed: All countries should acknowledge that international migration is defined; by border crossing. Equating immigrants with foreign citizens confuses a geographic notion with a legal one and indirectly serves policies of exclusion; All countries should agree on producing population data by detailed country of birth using the same unified list of world countries; International organizations should make all possible efforts to extend the coverage of migration surveys to all the countries that host sizeable migrant populations in the Global North as well as in the Global South; The scientific community should organize itself at a global level to develop and disseminate methodologies to fill the huge knowledge gaps that are the result of the currently patchy, mostly administrative data.
Table of Contents:
-- Executive summary -- Introduction -- Part I. Assessing the criteria used to collect data on migration -- Part II. Documenting migration: key issues -- Part III. Mapping empirical research on migration -- Conclusion -- References
Type of Access: openAccess
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