How statisticians uncovered the world’s missing migrants

The Washington Post – By Ana Swanson March 16 at 2:13 PM

Estimating the true number of migrants that move around the world each year is a difficult task — some people cross borders illegally, and recording and enforcement standards vary a lot by country. As a result, data on international migration is often incomplete. The U.S. may note an increase in foreign-born people across two time periods, for example, but other countries have no parallel record of them leaving.

To fill this gap, Nikola Sander, Guy Abel and Ramon Bauer of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital used statistical missing data methods to analyze the global flow of migrants. Using data on the changes in migrant stock over time, they estimate the five-year flows that are required to account for the differences in the data.

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