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 In Current Events, Data Resources for Nonprofits, Experts

Immigration is increasingly visible in the news. We’re seeing more and more discussion about immigrants and refugees here at home, in the US, and internationally. In this political climate, finding access to accurate, high-quality data on human migration is essential.

We need this data to ensure we understand immigration’s demographic effects as well as the impacts on the economy, education, labour systems, and communities. But as we’ve established in previous blog posts, data on human migration isn’t always easy to collect. So where can your organization find immigration statistics you can trust?

This post lists (in no particular order) some of our go-to sources for data on human migration. Have some to add? Drop us a line or share them in the comments!


The Immigration Data Matters Guide

Published by the Migration Policy Institute, the Immigration Data Matters guide is a free, comprehensive publication published in March 2018. It includes data on human migration in the US and internationally.

“The guide covers a wide range of topics, among them foreign-born population stocks and flows, humanitarian and labor migration, naturalization, education and language attainment, labor force participation, income and poverty rates, remittance size and flow, immigration enforcement actions, public opinion, religious affiliation, and development indicators.”

This is a must-have if you’re in need of data on human migration. And as a bonus, it offers a glossary of commonly-used immigration terms for the uninitiated and directions to other valuable data sources.


The Migration Policy Institute

You know this team is good because they made the list twice! The Migration Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focusing on the analysis of the movement of people worldwide.

“MPI provides analysis, development, and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national, and international levels. It aims to meet the demand for pragmatic and thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities that large-scale migration, whether voluntary or forced, presents to communities and institutions in an increasingly integrated world.”

If their Immigration Data Matters guide is more than you need all at once, you can always visit their data hub. They offer a range of datasets, graphs and maps on immigration, emigration, and net migration between 1950 and today.


The World Bank’s Data Repository

Want access to data on human migration collected by United Nations agencies? The World Bank data repository lets you examine, visualize, or download global development data by country, date, age, gender, and more — in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese.

“The World Bank recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to the development process and central to achieving the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty. The Bank’s commitment to openness is also driven by a desire to foster public ownership, partnership and participation in development from a wide range of stakeholders.”

Not sure where to begin? There’s a helpful intro that explains how to search, browse, access, and download WB data and what you can legally use it for.


The International Organization for Migration

It’s right there in the name — the IOM is an obvious choice if you’re looking for data on human migration. (And their Global Migration Flows visualization presents a wealth of data in a way that’s intuitive, even for the less statistically inclined.

“IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.”

Toggle the switch between “In” and “Out” and click on a country to view a fantastic visualization of data on human migration for that country. Mouse over countries or migrant clusters (each dot represents 20,000 people) for more detailed data.


CBC’s Demographic Diversity Visualization

An honourable mention for those working closer to home. The CBC has put together a really cool interactive tool on the country’s demographics using Statistics Canada figures. See how your experience differs from other Canadians in terms of immigration, citizenship, and ethnic identity. The visualization is excellent, and each category includes links to the data it’s based on.


Want Help with Data on Human Migration?

At Datassist, we work with organizations of all sizes who want to use data to bring about meaningful change. We’ve partnered with local, national, and international organizations to help change the world with data stories. We’d love to work with you. Get in touch.


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