How does administrative data compare with census data for the measurement of internal migration? The case of Northern Ireland, 2001-2011

Brian Foley, Tony Champion, Ian Shuttleworth

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Abstract

The paper compares and contrasts internal migration measured by healthcard-based administrative data with census figures. This is useful because the collection of population data, its processing, and its dissemination by statistical agencies is becoming more reliant on administrative data. Statistical agencies already use healthcard data to make migration estimates and are increasingly confident about local population estimates from administrative sources. This analysis goes further than this work as it assesses how far healthcard data can produce reliable data products of the kind to which academics are accustomed. It does this by examining migration events versus transitions over a full intercensal period; population flows into and out of small areas; and the extent to which it produces microdata on migration equivalent to that in the census. It is shown that for most demographic groups and places healthcard data is an adequate substitute for census-based migration counts, the exceptions being for student households and people aged under 35. However, census-like information is still needed to provide covariates for analysis and this will still be required whatever the future of the traditional census.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Early online date22 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 22 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Internal migration
  • administrative data
  • reliability
  • census

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