Sunday, March 04, 2018

Playing with the Pew Research numbers on global migration

Fascinating interactive from the Pew Research Centre on global migration. It allows you to search by country on the number of overseas born people living in that country, the number born in that country living elsewhere in the years 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2017. In each year, it lists numbers for both source and destination countries.

To illustrate with New Zealand:
  • in 1990, there were 520,00 overseas born people in New Zealand. The three top source countries were the UK, 230,000, Australia 50,000 followed by Samoa on 40,000. In that year, there were 390,000 Kiwis living abroad. The top three destination countries were Australia 300,000, the UK 40,000 and the US 20,000.
  • In 2017, the number of overseas born people in New Zealand had increased to 1,070,000 people. The top three source countries were the UK, 270,000, China 100,000 and India/Australia each on 70,000. In that year, the number of Kiwis living abroad had increased to 830,000. The top three destination countries were Australia, 670,000, the UK 60,000 and the US 30,000.
It's interesting just playing around with the interactive looking at different country patterns. However, it also allows you to compare countries or groups of countries, taking relative population sizes into account. Here the wikipedia list of country populations is useful.

Some of the types of questions that arise include:
  • Are Canada, New Zealand and Australia in fact exceptional when it comes to the relative size of immigration? How do the three compare? 
  • What do the stats tell us about relative migration patterns in Europe and the UK? 
  • Which countries have the lowest immigration patterns measured by the number of foreign born?
At this point, I haven't attempted to answer questions such as this, just pointing to possibilities. .    


2 tanners said...

Careful that you don't waste your time with context free numbers, or fact checking talking points from talkers who are making a point, not seeking truth. This strikes me as a set of very small facts, perhaps useful in correcting one's own mistakes, but not much more.

Jim Belshaw said...

Morning, 2t. It's only as good as the underlying data, of course. A bit like the global matrix trade stats we used to deal with! But there are enough data points - all countries, four year points for each country - to do some interesting analysis. Responsibility for the analysis and comments rests with those doing it!