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Questionnaire Design for Linked Surveys of International Migration in the CIS Countries: Issues and Proposed Approach. Richard E. Bilsborrow For the World Bank Presented at ECE Workshop on Using Household Surveys to Improve International Migration Statistics, Geneva, October 16, 2012.

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Questionnaire Design for Linked Surveys of International Migration in the CIS Countries:Issues and Proposed Approach

Richard E. Bilsborrow

For the World Bank

Presented at ECE Workshop on Using Household Surveys to Improve International Migration Statistics, Geneva, October 16, 2012

why use surveys
Why use surveys?
  • Detailed information is needed on migrants to study determinants or consequences of international migration
  • It is impractical to obtain detailed data from existing sources of data, such as a census, or a household survey with another main purpose and samples too small or randomly selected
  • Good questionnaires and interviewers are necessary to ensure data collected are of high quality, including on sensitive topics, such as income and undocumented migrants
migration is a social experiment
Migration is a social experiment
  • Migrants, by moving, are subject to a “treatment”
  • To assess the effects of the “treatment”, one needs to compare migrants with an appropriate group of “not treated persons”
the challenge of studying the determinants of migration
The challenge of studying the determinants of migration
  • Get comparable data on emigrants at destination and on non-migrants at origin: ideally, simultaneous surveys are thus needed at both origin and destination
  • Second best alternative: a survey at origin asking “proxy respondents” about emigrants from household, plus interviewing non-migrants
thus the desirability of linked origin destination country surveys
Thus the desirability of linked origin-destination country surveys

Best example is NIDI surveys of 5 countries of origin in Middle East and Africa and two of destination in Europe, though full analysis potential not realized in the end

But there are others, such as MAFE, on migration from Africa to Europe; and the Latin America Migration project of Massey and others at Princeton University on migrants to the US

nidi eurostat survey project 1997 1998
NIDI-Eurostat Survey Project, 1997-1998
  • Common methodology is needed not only in defining migrants but in design of samples and questionnaires
  • Special sampling methods needed, appropriate for “rare elements”
  • NIDI used both appropriate comparison groups in its survey design—almost!
  • These provide useful experience for designing origin-destination surveys in the CIS region, which constitute an almost ideal form of “migration system” for study
survey design in countries of emigration in the cis region
Survey design in countries of emigration in the CIS region

Need to collect data on both households with emigrants and those without, as well as on return migrants

Then 3 populations to be surveyed: households with no migrants, with emigrants (hereafter referred to as out-migrants), and with return migrants, oversampling latter two

Suppose we seek 3,000 hhs with an emigrant & 3,000 with a return migrant. In all of these, we will also interview a non-migrant. Therefore may not need so many non-migrant households

studying the determinants of migration
Studying the determinants of migration

Requires collecting data about the situation of the migrant and his/her household around the time of migration, since that is what affected the migration decision, not current data at interview

To study the determinants of migration, migrants and non-migrants are pooled, and a migration model is estimated in which the dependent variable is whether the person migrated or not

Therefore, data are needed on the situation of the non-migrant also at the time migrants moved rather than at the time of interview.

This has not been done before, but can be done

collecting data on non migrants
Collecting data on non-migrants

For how many years back (reference time) should data be collected on non-migrants?

This depends on 3 things: 1) the definition of migrants of interest; 2) the time when migrants moved within that reference period; and 3) what is feasible and practical to ask about (memory recall)

If we use (1) a 10 year cut-off in the definition of migration, (2) the mean time of migration is likely to be 4-5 years ago, so the goal is to ask non-migrants about their situation around that time.

structure of draft questionnaires
Structure of draft questionnaires

Household questionnaire--contains sections on household roster, housing quality and finance, assets and expenditures, health and income, and identification of out-migrants.

Individual questionnaires--exist for non-migrants, out-migrants, return migrants (and immigrants when of interest)

household questionnaire household roster sections 1 2
Household questionnaire: household roster, sections 1 & 2

Based on currently resident hh members (head may be out of country); affects listing and relationship to head response

Questions on p. 1 obtain country of birth, current age, and whether ever lived outside country and last time: this identifies immigrants and return migrants

Includes questions on ethnicity, current education and marital status, current work status.

Section 2 has easy questions on housing quality plus several on use of banks, internet and computers

section 3 household assets and expenditures
Section 3. Household assets and expenditures

Household assets list provides easy (if lengthy) indicator of wealth; should have diverse items, some of which most will have and some few

Household expenditures is often considered a more reliable indicator of the current economic status of a household from a survey

Proposed chart is intended to collect most expenditures in the least time, but it still requires considerable time; different reference periods for different types of items—e.g., food vs. appliances

section 4 household health and income
Section 4. Household health and income

Small table proposed for recording basic data, on illnesses in household in past 3 months, whether affected normal activities, whether received care, cost, etc.; could instead add to household roster

Dilemma exists with respect to the collection of data on household income; questions proposed are an attempt to collect reasonable data without many questions

This is especially the case with respect to income from business, own-account activities, farming

Alternative approach is use of simple set of probing questions to create income categories

section 6 identification of out migrants
Section 6. Identification of out-migrants

Short section, could be moved to end of section 1 or before section on non-migrants (currently section 5).

Asks about absent “household members”, those who left the household to live abroad and continue to live abroad

Need to identify their current age and when (last) left household

From this determine eligibility for out-migrant questionnaire

section 7 out migrant questionnaire
Section 7. Out-migrant questionnaire

Seeks minimum data on situation when first left the country if more than 10 years ago

Apply abbreviated international migration history, including episodes of return migration

Obtains more detailed data on the situation of the migrant and his/her household in country of origin on first move at 15+ in past 10 years; this includes education, marital status, employment/ income of migrant plus household size and composition, relatives abroad and networks, sources of information, financing of move, etc.

section 7 continued
Section 7, continued

Data are also collected on settling in process in country of arrival—sources of assistance, time to get first work or set up business/farm

Then further data is collected on work/income in first job abroad, business or farm, changes in education, marital status and fertility, etc.

If this first country since 10 years ago is not current country, then process above is repeated for last move abroad

The most detailed data, however, is collected on current situation of out-migrant, to measure consequences of migration for migrant

section 7 concluded
Section 7, concluded

Further data are obtained on the out-migrant situation to understand current situation and factors that may influence migration intentions-- whether to remain or return

This includes dwelling and family situation there: marital status/fertility and changes; whether has close relatives living there, back in origin, or elsewhere; language ability, citizenship; whether gained more education abroad, etc.

Finally, questions are asked about migration intentions & possible sources of funding for moving

section 8 remittances from out migrant
Section 8. Remittances from out-migrant

This short module is to be implemented for each recent out-migrant from the household, together with section 7

First asks about help household gave migrant when he/she first left

Then asks when migrant first sent money back, but focuses on the amount of money and value of goods sent in the past 12 months

Asks mechanism used, and how remittances were used, permitting an appraisal of their importance to the household and effects on investment

non migrant questionnaire
Non-migrant questionnaire

First, there is a big issue of how many non-migrants to interview in non-migrant household, including whether to always include the head

Structure/content of questionnaire is similar to that of out-migrant, from age, education, marital status/fertility history, first job, to more details about situation 4-5 years ago as well as at the current time of interview

This allows pooling data from non-migrants and migrants to investigate the factors determining why these non-migrants did not migrate; and also the study of (current) migration intentions

section 9 return migrant questionnaire
Section 9. Return migrant questionnaire

Content and structure are similar to out-migrant questionnaire, with questions added--on when and why returned, education/training abroad and skills gained, marital status/fertility, who accompanied and who remained in previous country, last economic activity before returning

Also questions are added on current work, changes in education, marital status/fertility changes, since returning

Finally, questions ask about current migration intentions (to stay here, return to previous residence, or elsewhere) and why

section 10 questionnaire for immigrants
Section 10. Questionnaire for Immigrants

To be asked in receiving countries and others interested, project otherwise will have data only on when came and current characteristics from household roster

Immigrant questionnaire has questions on country of origin, previous countries lived in, why left, why chose to come here, who accompanied and who remained behind, soures of information prior to coming, documents, language skills, contacts with labor recruiters, etc.

Additional data is then sought on changes since arrival, in marital status/fertility, education, etc., and on current situation regarding work, migration intentions

proper analysis of the determinants or consequences of migration
Proper analysis of the determinants (or consequences!) of migration

…also requires taking into account the effects of the context in which migrants and non-migrants live and make migration and other decisions

This requires having measures of that context

Some key aspects of this context can be captured through administration of a community-level questionnaire

This permits formulating better statistical models of the decision to migrate or not, taking into account individual, household, and community contextual factors (multi-level, or mixed, models)

if we can do these things
If we can do these things….

For countries of origin and destination, with common definitions and methodologies and linked surveys, we will

Provide a wealth of data for understanding the determinants and consequences of migration in CIS states, with valuable information for policy

And also make possible important advances in migration data collection and analysis methodologies.