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Migration statistics

Review paper by the United States Census Bureau with IMF and World Bank

In-depth review on migration statistics

The Bureau reviewed migration statistics in February 2005 with the purpose to support the implementation of the United Nations’ 1998 Recommendations on Statistics of International Migration and find ways to improve the comparability of migration data.

The Bureau set up a Steering Group on migration statistics to prepare a programme of work and develop a clearing house on migration statistics.

Outcome of the review

A CES seminar on measuring population movement and integration in a globalized world was held at the Conference in June 2008.

Task forces under the guidance of the Steering Group have addressed the following topics:

  • Measuring emigration using data collected by the receiving country (finished in November 2009);
  • Analysis of international migration estimates using different length of stay definitions (finished in February 2012);
  • Improving migration and migrant data using household surveys and other sources (Suitland Working Group) (finished in February 2013);

As a result, the Conference endorsed the Guidelines for Exchanging Data to Improve Emigration Statistics, in June 2009.

In June 2012, the Conference discussed the final report by the Task Force with recommendations on Analysis of international migration estimates using different length of stay definitions.

The Suitland Group produced a number of papers on methods of producing migration statistics, for instance a paper on Measuring hard-to-count migrant populations Eurostat’s PROMINSTAT database as a repository for migration-related survey questions.

In 2011, UNECE launched a new, regularly updated Clearinghouse on migration statistics  allowing countries to improve their emigration data by using immigration data from other countries.

Related initiatives

The Bureau set up a Task Force on measurement of the socio-economic conditions of migrants in November 2010. The planned final report of the Task Force on the socio-economic conditions of migrants is expected to be submitted to the January 2013 Bureau meeting for a review.

The Bureau set up a Task Force on circular migration in February 2013. Furthermore, in 2014 a CES seminar discussed the challenges in migration statistics as a CES seminar.


This page was last updated on: 21/05/2014