StatNord – a new database for migration and commuting studies in the Nordic countries

Therese Karlsson, Statistics Sweden
Maria Håkansson, Statistics Sweden
Oskar Nilsson, Statistics Sweden
Håkan Sjöberg, Statistics Sweden

At a meeting of the Nordic council of ministers in the autumn of 2008 an agreement was made to give the statistical national offices of Denmark, Norway and Sweden the task to construct a multinational database that presents cross-border statistics of migration and labour market in border regions. This paper focuses on the two main challenges of producing the statistics required to complete the task, i.e. the buildup of a reliable system for the production of migration data and data for cross-border commuting. The migration data between the Nordic countries were coordinated resulting in migration statistics between all municipalities in the three countries - something that has not previously been published. The commuters play an important part in the labour market in the cross-border regions but do not appear in national official statistics. The method to measure cross-border commuting requires mutual adaptation of the production processes and an implementation of multiple step procedures of data exchange between the statistical agencies of the relevant countries. The 30th of November 2009 the common database ( was launched which gave a positive response across the Nordic regions. One of the main goals of the database is to supply municipalities with a high proportion of cross-border commuters with more accurate figures regarding employment. In fact, the new database has meant that some regions have increased their estimated employment rate by up to ten percent when the cross-border commuters are included. The database also enables studies of migration on a detailed level between municipalities in the border regions. It is now possible for the municipalities situated near the border to another Nordic country to get detailed information on where the immigrants had their previous residence in the other country.

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Presented in Session 19: New data and methods of migration research