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Adrian Raftery Estimates Steady Rates of Global Migration and High Rate of Return to Country of Birth

Posted: 12/31/2018 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliate Adrian Raftery, Professor of Statistics and Sociology, and Jonathan Azose, Affiliate Assistant Professor of Statistics, caught the attention of the media with their recent migration estimates, challenging prior impressions and proving more accurate than previous methods.

In last week’s paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors define migration as an international move followed by a stay of at least one year. Using the pseudo-Bayes approach, they find that global migration rates are higher than previously thought, but have remained relatively stable between 1990 and 2015 (fluctuating between 1.1 and 1.3%). Additionally, they find that return migration is much higher than previously estimated, at approximately 45%.

According to Adrian, these more accurate estimates of migration will ultimately help both migrants and the people who assist them. “Planning for migration is no simple task,” he says, “You need everything from medical infrastructure and trained personnel to elementary schools — and governments rely on accurate demographic estimates to help them put the right plans and responses into place.”

Media mentions include The GuardianNPRThe IndependentKOMO RadioXinhua NetForbes, UPI, EurekAlert!, Quartz, You can find the full paper here. Congratulations, Adrian!