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Measuring Migration: Best Practices in Censuses and Household Surveys. Gero Carletto Carlo Azzarri. Background. Migration policy research hampered by availability of data Definitions and measurements of migration varies across and within countries (from ≠ sources), and overtime

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Measuring Migration: Best Practices in Censuses and Household Surveys


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    1. Measuring Migration: Best Practices in Censuses and Household Surveys Gero Carletto Carlo Azzarri

    2. Background • Migration policy research hampered by availability of data • Definitions and measurements of migration varies across and within countries (from ≠ sources), and overtime • Best practices? • Lack of consensus • Who is an international migrant? • What type of migration?

    3. What type of migration? • Flow vs. Stock • Immigrant vs emigrant (net migration) • Permanent/L-T vs. temporary/S-T • Circular, returnees • Internal • Undocumented/irregular • International migrants vs. international migration (multiple moves)  Different definitions/dimensions, different sources

    4. Outline • Concepts and definitions • Data sources • Sampling and survey options • Questionnaire contents/design • Conclusions and next steps

    5. Concepts • (Change in) Place of usual residence • Time/duration of stay • Purpose of stay • Citizenship • Place of birth • Alone or in combinations … • in which order? • for which purpose?  Used differently by different sources and depending on objective

    6. Definition of Int’l Mig (FLOW) • An international migrant is a person who changes his/her own country of usual residence (UN RSIM, Rev. 1) • Place of usual residence? • “… normally spends daily period of rest” • Usual ≠ legal • Boarding students? “Weekly commuters”? • No provision for … • Duration of stay • Purpose of move

    7. Long- vs. Short-term migrants (UN RSIM Rev 1.) • A long-term migrantis a person who moves to a country other than that of his/her usual residence for a period of at least a year (12 months) • A short-term migrant is a person who moves to a country other than that of his/her usual residence for a period of at least 3 months but less than a year (12 months)(except for recreation, holiday, business, medical treatment, …)

    8. Definition of Int’l mig.(STOCK) • “Persons who have ever changed their country of usual residence i.e. spent at least 1 year in a country other than the one in which they live at the time data gathered” (UN RSIM Rev. 1) • Relevant population groups: • foreigners (non-citizens of country of usual residence) • foreign-born (born in country other than one in which they are being enumerated) • provisions for 14 special groups

    9. Alternative definition (Bilsborrow et al, 1997) “An international migrant is a person who have lived for at least 6 months in a country other than that in which they are being interviewed and whose move into the country of interview occurred during the 5 years preceding the interview” … but definition assumes presence!

    10. Complementary definition (Bilsborrow et al., 1997) “An international migrant is a person who used to live in the country in which the interview is being conducted and was a member of the household of the person being interviewed but who left at some point in time during the 5 years preceding the interview to live abroad for at least 6 months”

    11. Operationalizing definitions • Usual Place of residence • Some countries do not use concept of “migrant” • Why 3-6-12 months? • Intended vs. actual duration of stay? • at time of arrival based on intention • upon completion of 12-month period • Lots of provisions!

    12. Data sources • Population registers • Other administrative records • Population censuses • Surveys

    13. Data sources: Pop Registers • PROS • Continuous • Measure of FLOWS (consistent with STOCKS) • De facto duration of stay/absence (if centralized) • CONS • Not run by NSO; coordination • Only limited information • Often not public access • Often only nationals; only documented • (dis)Incentive to register/deregister • Intended vs. actual duration of stay • Quality variability (if decentralized) • Feasible for LDCs? (EU from PopCensus to Registers) • Only 15 countries reporting flows figures (mostly from pop registers; UK, NZ from border statistics)

    14. Data sources: Other admin records • Border crossings (flows) • Registry of foreign workers • Embassy/consular data • Resident permit holders/applicants • Diaspora organizations/NGOs in D country • Emigration clearance certificates • Destination country sources … often incomplete both in coverage and content

    15. Data sources: PopCensus • Most reliable source of internationally comparable IMMIGRANT stocks. • PROS • Universal coverage • Some characterization possible, based on basic demographics and socio-economic, e.g.: • Gender (feminization of migration) • Age (SSS; fertility) • Occupation (workforce) • Educational level (brain drain/gain)

    16. Data sources: PopCensus (cont’d) • CONS • Every 10 years • Limited information (policy analysis?) • Poor/delayed tabulation • Low training of enumerators/data quality • Different approaches/definition • De facto (present population) vs. de jure (usual population) • 14 sub-groups for special treatment • Under-coverage • Entire families that moved • Seasonal/temporary, circular (night prior to census date) • Marginal groups (undocumented migrants?) • Housing arrangements, language, distrust, mobility, …

    17. Data sources: PopCensus (cont’d) (Chen, 2006)

    18. Data sources: PopCensus (cont’d) • Only 1 country in 89 compliant with UN RSIM Rev.1 (of 153; of 196)! • 11 countries “close” to definition • citizenship (93 countries) • stateless • place of birth (112 countries) • new countries • PoR at some point in time in the past (88 countries) (Chen, 2006)

    19. Data sources: PopCensus – emigrants? • Self-reporting about “absentees”: based on socio-econ status (hh membership) • Two (indirect) methods based on demographics (IUSSP) • Place of Residence (PoR) of siblings • PoR of children (complementing existing sources; split surviving children by PoR) • Even more limited information on emigrants • Less “flexibility” • No sensitive info (affect coverage) • Feasible at all? • Quality of information • Proxy respondent • Enumerator’s training • Balance equation/residual (Albania) • Using data from PopCensus in D countries?

    20. Data sources: Surveys • Despite “hype”, haphazard efforts • Little attention in … • UN RSIM Rev 1. • EGM recommendations: “Countries should explore the possibility of using sample surveys to collect data on international migration, especially for those aspects for which no other sources are available” • PROS • In-depth analysis • determinants, distributional analysis, impact (??) • More flexibility • Emigration (last resort?) • CONS • Rare event, clustered • Sampling error • Sampling frame (emigrants) • Richer info but … still limitations through proxy respondents

    21. Survey options: prob vs. non-prob • Probability: finding rare events • Huge sample? • 8 procedures (Kish, 1965) • Disproportionate • Two-phase • Non-probability • Case studies • Purposive geo selection (NIDI/Eurostat) • Snowball • Aggregation point intercept (Brazil-Nikkei)

    22. Survey options: HH vs. non-HH • Passenger surveys • UK IPS (flows) • Low incidence • Short questionnaire • HH surveys • Specialized • Preferred option but … • Too costly/unfeasible • Limited thematic coverage • Piggy-backing • Richer info (welfare?) but shorter migration module • Marginal costs • Sampling issues • LSMS/IHS (small sample; Albania), HBS/IES (high non-response; “resistance”); LFS (larger sample; frequency; no welfare; Philippines)

    23. Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) • Long tradition; now integral part of LFS. • 1982: 1-page rider to ISH • 1987: part of LFS (OFW only) • 1993: expanded module, renamed (OF) • 2003: Master sample (51,000 HHs) • Estimates and characterize stock of overseas Filipinos, including OFW (presently AND temporarily working overseas in last 5 year period) [1.2M in 2004]

    24. Questionnaire Contents / Design

    25. Identifying a migrant in HH • Approach 1: “Typical” LSMS/IHS • Self-reported hh membership (“usually” eat and live together) • No. months absent in past 12 months • Provisions, for HH head, new-comers … • Several drawback: • Permanent migrants? • Exclusion based on arbitrary cut-off • Ambiguous • Misses entire HHs

    26. Identifying a migrant in HH (cont’d) • Approach 2: “in the last 5 years, did anyone who livesor lived with you go to live in another country?” • Captures recent migrants but … • Still ambiguous • Arbitrary reference period • Still misses entire HHs

    27. Identifying a migrant in HH (cont’d) • Approach 3: Extended roster (with flap) • List all present and former hh members irrespective of PoR • Captures all members but … • Still ambiguous • Incentive to underreport? • Misses entire HHs

    28. Identifying a migrant in HH (cont’d) • Approach 4: Expanded fertility module (Albania LSMS 2002) • From 15-49 to “above 15” • List all women in age group • List all children ever born from woman • PoR for still alive • However … • Still possible undercount • mother absent • Misses entire HHs

    29. Once identify (e)migrant … • How much information can you elicit through proxy respondent? What’s the min-MAX amount of info? • Age, gender, occupation (before and during) • Length stay abroad/year of departure • Country of destination • Living with spouse/children • Legal status? • Multiple episodes? • Recall methods • Less accurate through proxy • Recall bias (Smith and Thomas, 2003; Som, 1973)

    30. Albania LSMS 2005 • Expanded module on (permanent) migrants (non-hh members) plus contact information for tracking in D country • Full histories and characterization of migration of current household members (15 years) • “Bound” grid • Clear time-marks

    31. Migration histories of HH members

    32. What if entire HH moves? • If dwelling occupied • Ask new occupant • About location • About relatives still in communities • If dwelling vacant/destroyed • Ask neighbor • Ask neighbor about relative still in community • If “dwelling moved”? • Internal migrants • “Restricted” universe of analysis • Track them? Feasible?

    33. Tracking migrants • “Replace” proxy respondent • Issues • Info needs • Attrition • Costs • Albania (“forward” tracking) • Tonga (“backward” tracking)

    34. Tracking Albanian migrants in Greece • Contact info • Process • Greece only; list of migrants with contacts • 1st contact in Greece • Return visit in Fall (phone cards) • 2nd contact in Greece • Interview • High attrition • No contact info • Unable to locate • Islands (high costs) • Refusal (not high) • Returnees/high mobility • Selection bias(es)? (undocumented aliens)

    35. Conclusions • Standards not uniformly adopted across and within countries (depending on source), and changing • Definition to be adopted depends on objective at hand and sub-populations of interest • Census: stock, but … • Registers: flows, but … • Survey: Surprisingly, still little attention … • “Weakest link”: emigration! • Better estimations • Better characterization • Better sampling frames

    36. Next steps: WB’s role? • 2010 Round of PopCensus • Influence Qx design • Min set of questions on immigrant stock • Question on Emigrant? • Approximation for stratification in sampling frame • Improve admin records • TFSCB • Register (if available) and/or border crossing • Inter-institutional collaboration • Data access

    37. Next steps: WB’s role? (cont’d) • HH surveys • Support proper sample designs • Sampling frames of emigrants • “enhanced” PSU listing for 2-stage • Oversampling in planned surveys • Reduce undercount/misreporting • Fielding and validation of ≠ approaches (LSMSIV) • Adjust for entire migrant households • Specialized vs. multi-purpose • Better income-based measures

    38. Next steps: WB’s role?(cont’d) • HH surveys (cont’d) • Improve content • Much more flexibility allowed • Emigrants, Returnees, … • If migrant present • Histories of migration • Retrospective data, determinants • Through proxy • Minimal set of questions? • Contact info for tracking (sub-sample?) • Tracking surveys • Panel surveys • Make provision in baseline