Comparing international data on migration between Sweden and the Netherlands

Elma Wobma, Statistics Netherlands
Han Nicolaas, Statistics Netherlands
Annika Klintefelt, Statistics Sweden

In theory, data on international migration between two countries are recorded in similar ways in the sending and the receiving country. In practice there are large differences between the two. In this paper, we look into details of the migration flows between the Netherlands and Sweden and analyse the differences found. Both countries have fully computerized register-based population statistics that will make comparison possible. We expect to find differences in registered migration between the countries. The definitions used for immigrants and emigrants are not the same, so we expect this to explain a substantial part of the difference. After controlling for this, the remaining difference is expected to be due to unreported emigration. It can be estimated that some of the unreported emigrations have Sweden or the Netherlands as their destination, using information on country of birth or citizenship. Using the immigration data of the receiving country will shed even more light on this group. Also, the registered migration motives of immigrants to the receiving country will give more insight into the emigration motives. After the analysis, we expect to have suggestions for improving of the migration statistics in both countries, and for how other countries may learn from this. Migration flows between the Netherlands and Sweden are first compared at an aggregated level on data published by both Statistical Offices. We describe migration flows by age, sex, country of birth, and citizenship. Secondly, the flows are recalculated using the same definition for migrants in both countries. Thirdly, unreported migration is estimated by using data on country of birth and/or citizenship. Finally, we will explore the possibility to use micro data of both countries in order to test the hypothesized underreporting of emigration. Did the immigrants registered in the receiving country not officially emigrate from the sending country?

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Presented in Session 94: Migration statistics and the impact of migration