MIGNEX Background Paper

Measuring migration aspirations and related concepts

MIGNEX Background Paper cover image

People’s thoughts and feelings about the prospect of migrating are essential for understanding migration dynamics. Surveys can yield rich data, but formulating the right questions requires tackling theoretical and methodological challenges.

By Jørgen Carling – Published on 30 August 2019
Key takeaways
A review of questions from more than fifty surveys resulted in a new conceptual model of five elements that distinguish questions on migration aspirations from each other.

Field-based testing confirmed the advantage of binary questions and highlighted the importance of treating ‘don’t know’ responses in a sound way.
Surveys should include several complementary questions that cover different aspects of thoughts and feelings about migrating or staying.

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Carling, Jørgen (2019) Measuring migration aspirations and related concepts. MIGNEX Background Paper. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Available at www.mignex.org/d023.