Mainstreaming Migration Statistics
Bettina Knauth
Eurostat, European Commission, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

In many EU Member States, migration has become the largest component of population change and is likely to remain important in the future. The shaping of the size and the composition of future migration flows as well as the integration of migrants into their host societies present a real challenge to policy makers, who need high-quality statistical information for policy design and evaluation.

There is currently a noticeable gap between this high demand for statistical information and the relatively poor availability of migration statistics, which are often limited to information necessary from a purely demographic perspective without taking into account the data needs for social policy. A further development of migration statistics has been hampered by the resource intensity of collecting additional statistics, resources that cannot be made easily available at a time of general budget cuts.

In order to overcome this dilemma, Eurostat has developed the approach of mainstreaming migration statistics, i.e. an approach in which the needs for information on migration and migrants are taken into account as part of an ongoing development of a wide range of economic and above all social statistics. Such an approach of adapting existing data sources, be it administrative registers or statistical surveys, is more cost-effective than developing new data sources.

Such an approach represents a number of important challenges. From an organizational point of view, this approach requires that the traditional segmentation of statistical production areas be overcome. From a methodological point of view, it requires that the design of existing data sources be revisited in order to accommodate these new needs. This can have significant implications for sampling strategies, fieldwork organisation and non-response treatment for surveys, as well as implications for information recorded in and quality assurance of administrative registers that are used for statistical purposes.

Keywords: Migration; Data source; Quality assurance

Biography: Bettina Knauth is heading the population statistics unit of Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union. In this capacity, she is responsible for demographic statistics, migration statistics, population projections and the EU census. She has been working in different positions in Eurostat for more than twenty years, mainly in the field of social statistics.