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Dataset | 04 Nov 2022

Global Migration Flows

Global flow of people. Estimates for bilateral global migration flows between all countries in the world. Abel, Guy; E. Cohen, Joel (2019): Bilateral international migration flow estimates for 200 countries. figshare. Collection.

The bilateral flows between 200 countries are estimated from sequential stock tables. They are comparable across countries and capture the number of people who changed their country of residence over five-year periods. The estimates reflect migration transitions and thus cannot be compared to annual movements flow data published by United Nations and Eurostat.

Demographic changes from births; deaths and refugee movements are included in the estimates.

The methodology applied provides maximum likelihood estimates and uses an iterative proportional fitting algorithm.

As migration flow data are often incomplete and not comparable across nations; we estimate the number of movements by linking changes in migrant stock data over time. Using statistical missing data methods; we estimate the five-year migrant flows that are required to meet differences in migrant stock totals. For example; if the number of foreign-born in the United States increases between two time periods; we estimate the minimum migrant flows between the US and all other countries in the world that are required to meet this increase.

For each country of birth; we estimate the minimum number of migrant flows required to match differences in stocks by assuming that people are more likely to stay than to move. This estimation procedure is replicated simultaneously for all 200 countries to estimate birthplace specific flow tables; resulting in a comparable set of global migration flows. Alterations are made to the migrant stock counts to control for births and deaths during the period. This allows our country-specific net migration flows to closely match the net migration estimates published by the United Nations.

Explore the data in the KCMD Dynamic Data Hub:

Global flow of people (map of immigrants)