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CGD Migration Data Report Card

May 29, 2009

Click here to see the report card (PDF)

This report card provides a simple overview of the extent to which countries in the world meet one of the five recommendations of Migrants Count: Five Steps Toward Better International Migration Data, the report of the Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research and Policy. The report card is a research product of the Center for Global Development and has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Commission.

The scores are given in two sections:

  1. The first section reflects data on the “2010 round” of censuses, many of which are set to occur somewhat before and somewhat after the year 2010. As of November 2008, when our data on these censuses were collected, 60 countries had completed a census in the 2010 round, and information on 48 of those censuses was available to be analyzed. For these 48 censuses, we give a grade of A (best) through F (worst). The “F” represents performance on census questions only, and does not reflect overall performance on the collection and dissemination of migration-related data; some countries that score an “F” for census data do much better with other forms of data.
  2. The second section provides information on other countries, whose census from the 2010 round was not yet completed at the time of the analysis or not available to be analyzed. These scores are based on the 2000 census round. Here, we present information only on countries that received a grade of A or B. Countries that receive a grade of C or F based on their 2000-round census are not listed, since some of them may have already planned big improvements for the 2010 round.

The source for the underlying data on which these scores are based is the United Nations Population Division. Note well that the underlying data were current as of November 2008 only.

The first recommendation of the Commission is that all countries ask three questions on their national census—country of birth, country of citizenship, and country of residence either one year ago or five years ago—and release public tabulations of the answers with a separate count for each foreign country of birth or prior residence. This is only possible if the census form is designed to record all possible countries of birth and previous residence. For this reason, countries that only allow partial responses (such as boxes to check for only five foreign countries, plus a catch-all “other” category) are not considered to comply with the recommendations.

Countries receive one point if they ask what specific country each person was born in. They receive one point if they ask what country the person resided in one year ago. They receive one point if they ask what country the person resided in five years ago. They receive half a point if they ask in which country a person resided prior to the present year, other than one or five years ago (such as two years ago, ten years ago, etc.). No data on the “country of citizenship” question were available to be analyzed so that question is not included in the score.

The grades are given as follows:

  • A score of 3 points earns an “A”
  • A score of 2.5 points earns an “A-”
  • A score of 2 points earns a “B”
  • A score of 1.5 points earns a “B-”
  • A score of 1 point earns a “C”
  • A score of 0.5 points earns a “C-”
  • A score of 0 points earns an “F”

Examine the report card