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Workshop: Migration Data and Models for a Better World

Aug 09

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) organizes a workshop on migration data and models, at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City on August 9th, 2019, 1-5pm.

Migration plays a central role in population processes, becoming an increasingly important component of social, economic and political change across the globe. Given its often unjust causes and socially transformative consequences to origin and destination communities alike, migration continues to demand the scholarly attention of sociologists, especially those invested in overcoming social injustices. However, despite the growing importance of migration phenomena, migration data remain expensive and difficult to collect. Different institutions use different definitions to meet their various needs, and time after time difficulties in comparing data across context limit wider understanding.

The goal of this preconference is to facilitate a conversation about improving migration data by bringing sociologists familiar with the conceptual pitfalls of migration research together with two groups: (1) data scientists with strategies for inferring migration from new forms of digital data and (2) representatives from international organizations with specific needs for particular kinds of migration estimates.

This interdisciplinary conversation will be organized around three substantive issues in migration data and measurement. First, there is a need for data than can improve the lives of migrants. Understanding the conditions migrants face is a key priority of the UN’s Global Compact on Migration. Second, there is a need to better understand the uses of migration data by governments and the salience of migration data to the public. Preventing distorted views that may lead to unjust immigration restrictions or violence against migrants requires research into how data are interpreted and shared. Third, there is a need for comprehensive tools for comparing different kinds of migration data. Sociologists, in particular, can help international organizations and data scientists decide how to prioritize the types of data that are most useful to understand societal processes and migration.


Those who are interested in attending the workshop must register using the registration page for the conference via the ASA membership portal. For questions, comments, or suggestions please contact Yuan Hsiao (yahsiao [at]

Event information
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
New York, New York