This project is funded under Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities

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Promoting Comparative Quantitative Research in the Field of Migration and Integration in Europe

PROMINSTAT aims at ...

Prominstat aims to promote comparative quantitative research on migration and integration by providing essential knowledge on statistical datasets in the form of dataset descriptions. These dataset descriptions are made available through an online accessible and fully searchable database. The information covers datasets in all 27 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. The database has a wide applicability within the broader field of statistical data collection on population and social conditions, and thus contributes to the setting of standards of data description.


The creation of the database is complemented by a series of country reports and thematic studies. These will, respectively describe the situation in each country and will also contribute to broader methodological discussions concerning comparative statistical research. They will discuss the difficulties associated with using data from countries that differ greatly in their past histories of migration and legal arrangements concerning migration. It will document the different definitions of migrants and different concepts to describe various societal-subsystems (e.g. education system, labour market etc.), as well as describing the different statistical methods used in data collection. Furthermore, the thematic studies, and in particular, the studies on discrimination and integration, focus on the different ways in which the phenomena under study can be assessed, in the light of the information collected for the database and possible future avenues for research, as well as come up with recommendations to improve the quality of data collection in this field of research.

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Research findings

One of the main results of the project is the online database that is also a tested and well-designed research tool. It will potentially have a wide application in the interdisciplinary field of migration studies and beyond. As a research tool, the database is primarily aimed at researchers, interested in comparative, statistical analyses of migration and integration. The database contains descriptions of more than 1,300 datasets, including population censuses, statistical registers and counts as well as national and international surveys important to migration, discrimination and integration research (see
Major gaps and needs identified are general problems of covering migrant populations with registers as well as with sample surveys. As a rule, migrant stocks are far better covered than migration flows, whereby especially emigration movements are usually under-estimated. In addition, migrants are often not identifiable due to lack of information on country of origin, citizenship or other relevant information. This lack of information also leads to incomparability of international statistics.
The database covers several datasets useful to research gender and migration issues and almost all datasets included hold information on the gender of the persons covered. Yet it is not known whether or not the published statistics always include breakdowns by gender (e.g. residence permits by gender). A good deal of international as well as national surveys include a wealth of information on issues important to study gender and migration, as for instance information on employment careers and care work of respondents (see for instance the TIES survey). The major problem of many general surveys not focusing on migration is the low number of migrants included in the samples, leading to statistically insignificant results.


Key messages

The main recommendations and key messages identified by Prominstat are:

  • the need of inclusion of additional information necessary to identify migrants in registers and surveys whenever possible;
  • better accessibility of existing data collected by authorities and other data owners;
  • the need for better co-operation between data owners;
  • possible over-sampling of migrants in sample surveys;
  • and the collection of more longitudinal data, which allow for analysing life histories of migrants.
Finally, the project finds that despite major gaps in statistical data collection in the area of migration and integration a great deal of statistical data is available in Europe and researchers are recommended to check the availability of data prior to launching new data collection efforts