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Estimation of international migration flow tables in Europe


  • Guy J. Abel


A methodology is developed to estimate comparable international migration flows between a set of countries. International migration flow data may be missing, reported by the sending country, reported by the receiving country or reported by both the sending and the receiving countries. For the last situation, reported counts rarely match owing to differences in definitions and data collection systems. We report counts harmonized by using correction factors estimated from a constrained optimization procedure. Factors are applied to scale data that are known to be of a reliable standard, creating an incomplete migration flow table of harmonized values. Cells for which no reliable reported flows exist are then estimated from a negative binomial regression model fitted by using an expectation-maximization (EM) type of algorithm. Covariate information for this model is drawn from international migration theory. Finally, measures of precision for all missing cell estimates are derived by using the supplemented EM algorithm. Recent data on international migration between countries in Europe are used to illustrate the methodology. The results represent a complete table of comparable flows which can be used by regional policy makers and social scientists to understand population behaviour and change better. Copyright (c) 2010 Royal Statistical Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Guy J. Abel, 2010. "Estimation of international migration flow tables in Europe," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(4), pages 797-825.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:173:y:2010:i:4:p:797-825

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    Cited by:

    1. Arkadiusz Wiśniowski & Jonathan J. Forster & Peter W. F. Smith & Jakub Bijak & James Raymer, 2016. "Integrated modelling of age and sex patterns of European migration," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(4), pages 1007-1024, October.
    2. Jack DeWaard & Jasmine Trang Ha & James Raymer & Arkadiusz Wiśniowski, 2017. "Migration from New-Accession Countries and Duration Expectancy in the EU-15: 2002–2008," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 33-53, February.
    3. Jonathan Azose & Adrian Raftery, 2015. "Bayesian Probabilistic Projection of International Migration," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1627-1650, October.
    4. Jack DeWaard, 2013. "Compositional and Temporal Dynamics of International Migration in the EU/EFTA: A New Metric for Assessing Countries’ Immigration and Integration Policies," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 249-295, June.
    5. repec:bla:jorssa:v:180:y:2017:i:1:p:185-202 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jack DeWaard & Keuntae Kim & James Raymer, 2012. "Migration Systems in Europe: Evidence From Harmonized Flow Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1307-1333, November.
    7. Guy J. Abel, 2015. "Estimates of Global Bilateral Migration Flows by Gender Between 1960 and 2010," VID Working Papers 1505, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
    8. Wiśniowski Arkadiusz & Bijak Jakub & Forster Jonathan J. & Raymer James & Smith Peter W.F. & Christiansen Solveig & Keilman Nico, 2013. "Utilising Expert Opinion to Improve the Measurement of International Migration in Europe," Journal of Official Statistics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 29(4), pages 583-607, December.

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