Quantifying and visualising
migration flows around the globe

Nikola Sander and Guy Abel

Wittgenstein Centre, Vienna Institute of Demography

IGU Regional Conference, Cracow, August 2014

Slides: nikolasander.com/igu2014

Global migration has accelerated and diversified

Limited empirical testing

Largely due to a lack of data.

Problem: countries measure migration flows in different ways.

Harmonisation only for Europe, e.g. IMEM

Data on migrant stocks

Widely captured in population censuses.

Country of birth != country of current residence.

UNPD released global bilateral dataset in 2013.

Accumulative measure that cannot capture recent trends.

How many people migrated in the world in 2005-10?

Quantifying Global International Migration Flows

Guy Abel & Nikola Sander.
In Science; 28 March 2014; vol 343: 1520-1522.

Estimating flows from stocks

UN stock data

lifetime transitions

static snapshot of
immigrant population

1990, 2000, 2010

~220 countries

Our flow estimates

5-year transitions

dynamic movements
over time

1990-95 to 2005-10

196 countries

Hypothetical migrant stocks in 2000

Hypothetical migrant stocks in 2000 & 2010

Hypothetical migrant stocks in 2000 & 2010

From stocks to flows

From stocks to flows

Estimated flow matrix

No rising tide of migration

About 0.6 % of world population have moved over 5-year periods since 1995.

North America
Latin America
W & S Asia
East & SE Asia

Quantifying Global International Migration Flows.
Abel & Sander, 2014. In Science, Vol. 343, pp.1520-22.

"The Global Flow of People"
Interactive data visualisation

A collection of our circular migration plots