International Migration statistics

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, The Statistical Office of the European Union.


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, The Statistical Office of the European Union.

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F2: Population and Migration

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 15/01/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 15/01/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 06/04/2018


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Eurostat's annual collections of statistics on international migration flows are structured as follows:

Data collection

Info & Legislation

NOWCAST

Annual collection of provisional monthly data on live births and deaths covering at least 6 months of the reference year (Article 4.3 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 205/2014) and provisional monthly data on migrants covering at least 6 months of the reference year on a voluntary basis.

DEMOBAL

Demographic balance

Annual collection of provisional data on population, total live births and total deaths at national level (Article 4.1 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 205/2014) and provisional data on total migrants at national level on a voluntary basis.

UNIDEMO
Unified demographic

The most in-depth annual national and regional data collection on demography and migration, for population, births, deaths, immigrants, emigrants, marriages and divorces by a large number of breakdowns. (Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 1260/2013 and Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 862/2007).

The aim is to collect annual mandatory and voluntary data from the national statistical institutes. Mandatory data are those defined by the legislation listed under ‘6.1. Institutional mandate — legal acts and other agreements’.

The quality of the demographic data collected on a voluntary basis depends on the availability and quality of information provided by the national statistical institutes.

For more information on mandatory/voluntary data collection, see 6.1. Institutional mandate — legal acts and other agreements.

The following data on migrants are collected under unified demographic data collection:

  • Immigrants by age, sex and:

                 a.   Country of citizenship;

                 b.   Country of birth;

                 c.   Country of previous residence.

  • Immigrants by country of citizenship and country of birth
  • Emigrants by age, sex and:

                  a.   Country of citizenship;

                  b.   Country of birth;

                  c.   Country of next residence.

3.2. Classification system

For GEO (reporting country), CITIZEN (citizenship), C_BIRTH (country of birth) and PARTNER (country of previous/next residence) classifications, the two-letter ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 3166 alpha-2 code is used. However, Greece and the United Kingdom are exceptions to this, for which the abbreviations EL and UK are used.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Immigration: the action by which a person establishes his or her usual residence in the territory of a Member State for a period that is, or is expected to be, of at least 12 months, having previously been usually resident in another Member State or a third country.

Emigration: the action by which a person, having previously been usually resident in the territory of a Member State, ceases to have his or her usual residence in that Member State for a period that is, or is expected to be, of at least 12 months.

Usual residence: the place where a person normally spends the daily period of rest, regardless of temporary absences for purposes of recreation, holidays, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage or, in default, the place of legal or registered residence. The following persons alone are considered to be usual residents of the geographical area:

  • those who have lived in their place of usual residence for a continuous period of at least 12 months before the reference time; or
  • those who arrived in their place of usual residence during the 12 months before the reference time with the intention of staying there for at least one year.

Immigrant: a person undertaking an immigration.

Emigrant: a person undertaking an emigration.

Citizenship: the particular legal bond between an individual and his/her State, acquired by birth or naturalization, whether by declaration, choice, marriage or other means according to national legislation.

Stateless: A stateless person is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law, as set out in article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the status of stateless persons.

Recognised non-citizens: Persons who are not citizens of the reporting country, nor of any other country, but who have established links to the reporting country, which include some but not all of the rights and obligations of full citizenship. This category consists mainly of former Soviet citizens living in the Baltic States who have not applied for the citizenship of their current country of usual residence.

Country of birth: the country of residence (in its current borders, if the information is available) of the mother at the time of the birth or, in default, the country (in its current borders, if the information is available) in which the birth took place.

Age reached: age at the end of the year.

Age completed: age on the last birthday.

Historical age definition of migration statistics under Article 3 of Regulation (EC) 862/2007

 Notes:

  • R (age reached); C (age completed); B (both age reached and age completed); T (no age distribution available); empty (no data available).

Albania, Montenegro, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Georgia, Monaco, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Ukraine and Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244) are not included in the analysis because their data are not disseminated online from 2008 onwards due to definitional problems.

Level of development: the relative degree of development of a country as defined by statistical measures of three basis dimensions - health, education and standard of living. The list of countries and citizenships to be included in each groups by level of development is given in Annexes.

Refugee:  person granted refugee status (as defined in Art.2(e) of Directive 2011/95/EC within the meaning of Art.1 of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, as amended by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967) or person granted subsidiary protection (as defined in Art.2(g) of Directive 2011/95/EC and person covered by a decision granting authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons under national law concerning international protection.

Asylum seeker: First-time asylum applications are country-specific and imply no time limit. Therefore, an asylum seeker can apply for first time in a given country and afterward again as first-time applicant in any other country. If an asylum seeker lodge again an application in the same country after any period of time, (s)he is not considered again a first-time applicant.

Member States and EFTA countries by inclusion/exclusion of asylum seekers and refugees in the data on population reported to Eurostat in the framework of the Unified Demographic data collection Reference Year 2016

Population as of 01.01.2017 Included Excluded
Asylum seekers usual residents for at least 12 months DE, EE, IE, EL, ES, FR, IT, CY, LU, NL, AT, PT, UK, NO1, CH BE, BG, CZ, DK, HR, LV, LT, HU, MT, PL, RO, SI, SK, FI, SE, IS, LI   
Refugees usual residents for at least 12 months BE, BG, CZ, DK, DE, EE, IE, EL, ES, FR, HR, IT, CY, LV, LT, LU, HU, MT, NL, AT, PL, PT, RO, SI, SK, FI, SE, UK, IS, LI, NO1, CH  

(1) Asylum seekers and refugees without residence permit are not included.

Member States and EFTA countries by inclusion/exclusion of asylum seekers and refugees in the data on migration reported to Eurostat in the framework of the Unified Demographic data collection Reference Year 2016

Migration for 2016

Included

Excluded
Asylum seekers usual residents for at least 12 months   DE, EE, EL, ES, FR, IT, LU, NL, AT, PT, UK, CH, NO1 BE, BG, CZ, DK, IE, HR, CY, LV, LT, HU, MT, PL, RO, SI, SK, FI, SE, IS, LI
Refugees usual residents for at least 12 months BE, BG, CZ, DK, DE, EE, IE2, EL, ES, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, LU, HU, MT, NL, AT, PL, PT, RO, SI, SK, FI, SE, IS,  UK, LI, NO1, CH CY

(1) Asylum seekers and refugees without residence permit are not included.

(2) Refugees who do not live in a private household are not included.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical unit used is ‘number’ as indicated in the online database or by the titles of tables.

3.6. Statistical population

The statistical population is the total population. For more information on the population concepts used, see the population reference metadata (demo_pop).

3.7. Reference area

The migration statistics are disseminated by single country as follows:

a) Member States of the European Union

b) EU candidate countries

c) EFTA countries

d) Other countries: Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244) and Ukraine.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The available time series collected and published in the Eurostat database varies depending on the migration breakdowns, with the longest time series starting in 1990 by age and sex, in 1998 by country of citizenship, country of previous/next residence and in 2008 by country of birth.

The completeness of the time series for the migration statistics collected on a voluntary basis before the entry into force of the regulations listed in 6.1 Institutional mandate — legal acts and other agreements’and for the statistics that continue to be supplied to Eurostat on a voluntary basis depends on the availability of data the national statistical institutes send Eurostat.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.


4. Unit of measure Top

Data on migrants are disseminated in integer numbers.


5. Reference Period Top

The reference period for migration flows data is the calendar year in which the migration occurred. For the monthly time series the reference period is the month of occurrence.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Documents

Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of the European Parliament  and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 311/76 on the compilation of statistics on foreign workers.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 351/2010 as regards the definitions of the categories of the groups of country of birth, groups of country of previous usual residence, groups of country of next usual residence and groups of citizenship, with 1 January of the reference year as the reference date for drawing up the list of countries to be included in each of the groups. However, given Regulation (EU) 1260/2013 on European demographic statistics had entered into force and for the sake of consistency, it was decided by gentlemen’s agreement to take the end of the reference year as the reference date and to exclude stateless people from the category of non-EU nationals.

Therefore, data for 2013 and thereafter include in the EU aggregates Croatia, which joined the EU on 1 July 2013. Non-EU citizens are defined as those who do not have the citizenship of any of the EU-28, excluding stateless people. However, data for 2012 and before that exclude Croatia in the EU aggregates. Non-EU citizens are those who do not have the citizenship of any of the EU-27, including stateless people.

For the series listed in ‘3.1. Data description’, data collected on a voluntary basis are:

  • Immigration and emigration data by age, sex and country of citizenship, country of previous/next residence before reference year 2008;
  • Immigration by age, sex and single country of citizenship/country of birth/country of previous residence since reference year 2008;
  • Immigration by country of citizenship and country of birth since reference year 2008;
  • Emigration by age and sex since reference year 2008;
  • Emigration by age, sex and single country of citizenship/country of birth/country of next residence since reference year 2008.
6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 states that there is a need to establish common principles and guidelines to ensure the confidentiality of the data used to produce European statistics and to ensure access to these confidential data. This must be done taking due account of technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society and Amending Regulation (EU) No 2015/759 of 29 April 2015 on the violation of statistical confidentiality.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Calendar

Data collection

March T+1

Migration flows by age, sex and citizenship/country of birth/country of previous/next residence for reference year T-1

Notes:

  • Migration data refer to the amount of immigration and emigration that occurred during the reference period of one calendar year T-1 from 1 January until 31 December of year T-1;
  • Migration data are collected by Eurostat annually by 31 December of year T;
  • Migration data are disseminated by Eurostat annually by March of year T+1.

Eurostat disseminates online revisions of data (from provisional to definitive data, for example) as soon as they are sent. The date of the online table may therefore differ from March T+1.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not available.

8.3. Release policy - user access

Eurostat disseminates European statistics on its website in line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice. It does this in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated fairly. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Migration statistics are continuously revised according to the most recent data released and sent to Eurostat by the national statistical institutes.

Data are disseminated in line with 8.1 Release calendar and 17.1 Data revision-policy.


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Articles on Eurostat's Statistics Explained website: Migration and migrant population statistics

Eurostat Yearbook

Domain specific publications

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Eurostat’s Data Navigation Tree.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

‘Demographic statistics: A review of definitions and methods of collection in 44 European countries’, Eurostat, 2015 edition.

There is more information on methodology by country in the annexes.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Not available.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Quality assurance is part of data processing. Since 2008, statistical products and processes have been systematically reviewed in accordance with the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 states that the Commission shall submit reports on its implementation to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU as follows:

- first report by August 2012

- second report by August 2015

- every 3 years thereafter. Next report by August 2018.

These reports evaluate the quality of the data Member States and EFTA countries send to Eurostat and the data collection methods used. If appropriate, the reports should be accompanied by proposals to improve the legal framework for migration statistics under this Regulation.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Migration statistics and demographic statistics in general are widely used to plan actions, evaluate programmes and monitor trends in a number of social and economic policy fields. They play an important role in areas such as:

  • Evaluating the economic, social and environmental impacts of demographic change;
  • Analysing population ageing and its effects on sustainability and welfare;
  • Calculating per capita indicators;
  • Studying population trends in Europe.
12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No user satisfaction surveys are carried out.

12.3. Completeness

Data completeness depends on the availability of data from the national statistical institutes.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Not available.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

For the timeliness of data release see 8.1 Release calendar.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The recommended definition of population, in line with Regulation (EC) No 862/2007, is the ‘usually resident population’, meaning all the people usually resident in a Member State on the reference date. On the basis of this definition, the following people alone are considered usual residents of the geographical area in question: those who have lived in their place of usual residence continuously for at least 12 months before the reference date or those who arrived in their place of usual residence during the 12 months before the reference date with the intention of staying there for at least 1 year. If the circumstances described above cannot be established, ‘usual residence’ can be taken to mean the place of legal or registered residence.

According to Regulation (EC) No 862/2007, migrants should be defined the same way as population. For example, if population is defined in terms of usual residence, then the number of immigrants should be the number of those who establish their usual residence in the territory of a Member State for a period that is, or is expected to be, of at least 12 months, having previously been usually resident in another Member State or a non-EU country.

The metadata provided by the countries in question confirm that migration statistics are calculated according to the harmonised definition given above.

Countries by time criteria used for the definition of migration and typology of flow:

 

Actual

12-month

Intended

12-month

Actual and intended

12-month

Other

Nationals

Immigrants

AT, BE, CH, CZ, DK, EE, IS, NL, RO, NO

DE, HU, IT, FI, SE, UK

BG, CY, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK, LI

 

Emigrants

AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, EE, IS, NL, RO, NO

HU, IT, UK

BG, CY, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK, LI

FI, SE

EEA citizens

Immigrants

AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, EE, IS, NL, RO, NO

HU, FI, IT, SE, UK

BG, CY, CZ, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LI, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK

 

Emigrants

AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, EE, IS, NL, RO, NO

CZ, HU, IT, UK

BG, CY, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LI, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK

FI, SE

Non-EEA citizens

Immigrants

AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, IS, NL, RO, NO

HU, FI, IT, SE, UK

BG, CY, CZ, EE, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LI, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK

 

Emigrants

AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, EE, IS, NL, RO, NO

CZ, HU, IT, UK

BG, CY, EL, ES, FR, HR, IE, LI, LT, LU, LV, MT, PL, PT, SI, SK

FI, SE

Note: The national statistical definition of emigration of FI and SE is based on a six-month criterion for some countries of next residence (Nordic agreement), although the impact is declared negligible.

EEA European Economic Area (EU-28 plus IS, LI, NO).

15.2. Comparability - over time

Breaks in data series could compromise comparability over time. The breaks in migration series due to methodological changes, data processing changes or revisions in migration counts reported by the countries in question are documented in Eurostat’s database with the flag b (break in series).

The reason the migration flows data available between reference years 2008 and 2009 is flagged as a break in the series is a change in methods of production, described as a first shift from the national definition of migration to the 12-month definition.

The migration data for 2011 and thereafter take into account the results of the latest population census (held in 2011). By the end of 2013 some of the countries had revised the time series for migration between the previous census and 2011, taking into account Eurostat’s recommendation to provide more information about data revision per country, (see also 17. Data revision).

Improvements in and changes to administrative systems and statistical methodology may also cause breaks in the time series.

There is more information on methodology by country in the annex.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not available.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The datasets [migr_imm8] and [migr_emi2] are based on the unified demographic data collection (UNIDEMO). From 2008 onwards the annual migration data fall under the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics on migration and international protection. This means that these statistics are collected by countries according to harmonised definitions listed in 3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions.

For the annual demographic balance data collection (DEMOBAL), Eurostat produces net migration figures by taking the difference between total population change and natural change. This is referred to as net migration plus statistical adjustment.

In other words:

Net migration plus statistical adjustments (T-1) = population change (T-1) — natural change (T-1), where:

Population change (T-1) = population as of January T — population as of 1 January (T-1)

Natural change (T-1) = live births (T-1) — deaths (T-1)

The statistics on ‘net migration plus statistical adjustment’ might therefore be affected by statistical inaccuracies or by methodological differences in the two components of this equation. From one country to another ‘net migration plus statistical adjustment’ may cover, besides the difference between inward and outward migration, other changes observed in the population figures between 1 January in 2 consecutive years that cannot be attributed to births, deaths, immigration or emigration.

This explains the difference between the calculation of net migration by the user, using harmonised definitions, and ‘Net migration plus statistical adjustment’ presented in the dataset [demo_gind] using the national definition and as the difference between the population and natural change. See the reference metadata Population change — Demographic balance and crude rates at national level.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Not applicable.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Eurostat's policy is to make updates as soon as it receives data and at any time during the year.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Migration statistics are continuously revised according to the most recent data released and sent to Eurostat by the national statistical institutes.

The status of the data is indicated using flags (p = provisional data; e = estimated; b = break in time series).


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Eurostat collects migration data from national statistical institutes who remain free to use any appropriate data sources, according to national availability and practice, as long as they adhere to the harmonised definitions of migration statistics in Regulation (EC) No 862/2007. Member States generally base their migration flow data on administrative sources, sample surveys, census data, mirror data, mathematical methods or a combination of data sources.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data are collected annually.

18.3. Data collection

National statistical institutes collect the statistics and send them to Eurostat. Data are requested from national statistical institutes as part of the unified demographic data collection. The unified demographic data collection contains both mandatory and voluntary data (see section 3.1. Data description).

18.4. Data validation

The validation checks carried out on raw data sent to Eurostat by the national statistical institutes are either checks of internal consistency within each table, or checks of external consistency between different tables reporting the same data differently disaggregated.

Eurostat also asks data providers to supply specific metadata describing the definitions used and the quality of the statistical outputs to assess uniform standards. To ensure the consistency and comparability of the statistics produced, Eurostat checks if the data it receives are consistent internally and over time, and if they are in line with the principles of the European Statistics Code of Practice and Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics.

For more information on data validation by Eurostat see http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/data-validation.

18.5. Data compilation

Geographical aggregation

Eurostat does not disseminate geographical aggregates at EU level on migration flows by applying a common arithmetical sum of the flows of the EU Member States on the Eurostat website, because the sum is not the flows from/to the EU and could lead to confusion. Instead, the EU aggregates for migration flows are disseminated with explanations in the article 'Migration and migrant population statistics' on Eurostat's Statistics Explained website.

Migration variables

In the context of the annual demographic balance, Eurostat produces net migration figures by taking the difference between total population change and natural change at EU level. This is referred to as net migration plus statistical adjustment. The statistics on ‘net migration plus statistical adjustment’ are affected by the impact of adjustments (statistical inaccuracies, or methodological differences in the two components of this equation), as compared to ‘net migration’ (immigrants minus emigrants) that are affected by the impact of mirror errors (comparison between two independent measurements of the same migration flow, one reported by the receiving and one by the sending country). In theory, intra-EU migration statistics based on the 12-month time criterion should be fully comparable among reporting countries. The number of emigrants from Member State A to Member State B, as reported by A, should be almost equal to immigrants into B from A, as reported by B. However, care should be taken when comparing intra-EU migration statistics. National data suppliers can have different practices and are free to use any appropriate data sources available. There may therefore be discrepancies. Migration flow data are largely based on administrative data sources. Population register systems recording migration movements of people into and out of the countries concerned differ greatly from country to country. The propensity to register and de-register is also an issue. Therefore, Eurostat’s website does not include net migration at EU level, or variants like net migration of non-EU nationals at EU level.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable.


19. Comment Top

Not applicable.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
The country of birth classification used by Eurostat based on UN HDI for 2013
The country of citizenship classification used by Eurostat based on UN HDI for 2013
Immigration statistics Break in series description
Emigration statistics Break in series description
Documentation on methodology on migration statistics RY2016