How accurate is the data?

Statistical data on the flow of migrants and refugees around the world is drawn from regularly by International press and policymakers. HTiL has included statistics in our resources pages. How accurate the information on the flow of people is, how recent it is, and its apolitical interpretation, are crucial for setting evidence-based policy around the world.


When we use the term statistical data, we are suggesting that information has been gathered, organized and interpreted by experts in their field. Researchers often use polls, surveys, and questionnaires to gather information.  In addition to being a branch of mathematics in quantitative research, statistics often involves using large data samples. Sharing research results through numbers and percentages, allows people to interpret findings in accessible ways. Statistics are often used in areas such as human development, community health, marketing, economics and political science.

Consider candyfloss and the candy floss machine, which has been used by scientists to ‘build scaffolds for growing cells in’. The data findings were released and the research and its statistical values were used to discuss The Amazing Chemistry of Candyfloss for an article about food. Once statistics are published, they can be used by people and organisations in endless ways.

How accurate is the data about migrants & refugees movement?

Objective analysis is fact-based and considered to be measurable and observable. Migrants and refugees move through diplomatically and economically sensitive situations as do the figures associated with them. The countries that refugees move through also classify refugees in their own unique ways. Definitions of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers depend on the type of assessment procedures in a specific country. How people are classified directly affects the type of data that is made available.

As recent as 2015, ‘the European Union’s border guards issued an exaggerated estimate of migration figures for the first nine months of 2015’. Headlines such as “710,000 migrants entered EU in first nine months of 2015” were reported in the press. These figures were contested by a social scientist Nando Sigona. In addition to being an expert on refugees and migration at the University of Birmingham, Sigona highlighted the discrepancies in the data relating to the headlines. Misinformation in this way, allows statistics to be used by people or organisations around the world to meet their own agendas.

Global Migration Data Analysis Center

To combat misinformation the Global Migration Data Analysis Center (GMDAC) was created by the IOM in Berlin in 2015. The aims of GMDAC are to share and communicate data on economic migrants and refugees in more effective ways. One of the ways they aim to achieve this is through their data portal. A function that gathers and analyses various data on economic migrants and refugees into one place.

What are the migrant flow statistics for Europe?  Statistics from 29th July 2018 suggest that 71,459 migrants arrived in Europe in 2018. Of these figures, 57,571 people arrived by sea and 13,888 by land. Over 1,500 people are dead or missing in the Mediterranean so far this year. How accurate can the data about migrants and refugees movement be ?


Read More: Data on movements of refugees and migrants are flawed in Nature – International Weekly Journal on Science

Read More: Migration Flows Europe IOM

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