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Towards rigorous cross-national comparison of internal migration: who collects what?

Martin Bell, University of Queensland

Cross-national comparisons of internal migration can contribute significantly to understanding of mobility, but are hampered by differences in measurement and definition. Recent work (Bell et al 2002) examined the obstacles to such comparisons and proposed a battery of 15 migration indicators which were tested using British and Australian data. This paper provides the foundation for wider comparisons by assembling, for the first time, a comprehensive inventory of the internal migration data collected by UN member countries worldwide. Results are based on mining of web-based resources, published papers on migration and a global survey of national statistical agencies. The paper reports key findings including the types of data sources used to collect mobility data, the intervals over which migration is measured and the zonal systems employed, identifies commonalities and differences in practice between broad regions of the world, and assesses the implications for rigorous cross-national comparisons of mobility and internal migration.

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Presented in Session 23: Data and methods in the study of internal migration