Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Probabilistic Method for Combining Internal Migration Data

Guy Abel, Asian Demographic Research Institute and the Vienna Institute of Demography

An Earl and Edna Stice Memorial Lecture

05/04/2018
12:30-1:30 PM PT
121 Raitt Hall

Co-Sponsor(s):

UW Sociology

In order to fully understand the causes and consequences of population migration, researchers and policy makers require timely and consistent data. Migration data are commonly obtained from censuses, registers or surveys. Each of these data sources can vary in their measurement of accuracy, coverage of population, undercount and definitions of a migration event. This paper proposes a Bayesian probabilistic methodology to harmonize migration data from different sources. In particular, we build a hierarchical model for combining migration data sources in the USA between 1980 and 2016. The model allows for estimates of true migration flows that explicitly compensates for the inadequacies in each data source and provides one-step ahead forecasts of bilateral migration patterns.


Guy Abel is a Research Scientist based in the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital at the Vienna Institute of Demography. He is also a Professor in the School of Sociology and Political Science at Shanghai University where he leads the International Migration Pillar in the Asian Demographic Research Institute. Previously, he worked at the ESRC Centre for Population Change and S3RI at the University of Southampton. His research interests cover estimating migration and applying statistical methods to better forecast components of population change.