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  • How (NOT) to predict migration

    8 December 2015 - It is undeniable that migration is one of the key themes in current policy debate. However, the precise numbers of people migrating into and out of the country are very difficult to measure: data systems designed to record migrants often produce biased and inaccurate estimates. The challenge is even greater in the case of predictions. Migration is much more volatile than other population processes, as it is partially driven by shock events, such as political crises; wars; economic downturns; or environmental catastrophes, which themselves are largely unpredictable.

    CPC Member Dr Jakub Bijak, the Allianz European Demographer 2015, and an esteemed panel, explored the issue of uncertainty in migration forecasting. They also proposed the ways in which migration predictions can be reported in an honest way and utilised in practice, despite being highly uncertain. For further information read the CPC Briefing Paper on How to forecast international migration.

    The speakers were:

    • Dr Jakub Bijak - Centre for Population Change (CPC), University of Southampton

    • Ms Madeleine Sumption - Director of the Migration Observatory, University of Oxford

    • Prof Philip Rees CBE FRGS FBA - Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy, University of Leeds

    Sponsored by the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, Paul Blomfield MP, the session critically looked at different methods used for predicting migration, and explored the underlying challenges and practical recommendations in more detail. It focused on the uncertainty related to defining, estimating and forecasting migration, and on the potential and limitations of using the uncertain migration predictions as an evidence base for making informed policy decisions.

    A video summary of the event can be seen here and a full digital summary of the event is here.

    The event was held in Westminster on Tuesday 8 December 2015 from 11:30 to 13:30.

    Posted 11/11/2015 11:44