Leveraging Facebook Tagging to examine regional migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Victoria Prieto-Rosas (University of the Republic, Uruguay)
Department of Digital and Computational Demography, February 21, 2024

Hybrid Seminar Talk, February 21st from 11am to 12pm (CET)

Victoria Prieto-Rosas from the University of the Republic (Uruguay) will talk about leveraging Facebook tagging to examine regional migration in Latin America and the Caribbean.


The predictive capacity of statistics models using parameters derived from Facebook data for estimating migrant stocks has been largely documented for destinations including the US and the European countries. However, less is known about migrant stock estimates using Facebook data for destination countries in the Global South where internet penetration rates tend to be modest and truth ground timely data for comparisons scares. This paper provides two proofs of concept that respectively discuss the pros and cons of using Facebook data on users too i) approximate the magnitude and demographic profile of migrant stocks in the Latin American and Caribbean region; and ii) to sample and outreach migrant populations in the same region with surveying purposes. In the first case, we assess the correlation between Facebook number of monthly active users tagged as EXPATs against household surveys for six countries, Mexican census data and the United Nations estimates on the migrant stocks by country of origin, sex, age and year of observation for 2019 and 2020. This analysis focuses on regional migration including 13 countries of origin. In the second case we examine the accuracy of Facebook EXPATS tagging to outreach actual migrants by presenting the results on a survey conducted in Uruguay during August 2020 to check whether people tagged as EXPATS from country i by the app were actually recent migrants coming from i. Results show high correlation between Facebook data and UN migration stocks and a collection of parameters that grasp the systematic biases of Facebook which differ by origin, destination, age groups and sex. In addition, the results from two surveys targeting EXPAT Facebook users from Argentinean, Brazilian, Cuban, Dominican, Peruvian and Venezuelan origin in Uruguay provide further evidence supporting the use of web social media data in predicting migrant stocks from the most numerous communities of origin. In addition, our results warn on the limits of this approach for examining smaller communities (Peruvians and Dominicans).


Victoria Prieto-Rosas is an assistant professor for the Population Program at the University of the Republic (Uruguay). She is a Ph.D. in Demography from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and graduated from the European Doctoral School in Demography and Lund University. She leads the project, "Using Internet-based data to quantify and sample international migrants. Applications to examine recent immigration to Uruguay", funded by the Max Planck Society (Germany) and the National Agency of Research and Innovation (Uruguay), as well as the Group on Human Mobility and Digital Demography funded by the Scientific Research Council of the University of the Republic. Was part of the coordination committee to expand ethno-surveys to address immigration in Latin America (Latin American Migration Project, LAMP), and is a founding member of the research group on Comparative Analysis of Migration and Displacement in the Americas (CAMINAR). Her publications have focused on drivers of international migration, the social inclusion of immigrants and returnees in South American countries, and the assessment of traditional and non-traditional data to study human mobility.

Register to attend

Would you like to participate in the Online Seminar Talk? You are very welcome. Please register by using this survey.


Leveraging Facebook Tagging to examine regional migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Victoria Prieto-Rosas from the University of the Republic (Uruguay)
Leveraging Facebook Tagging to examine regional migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: February 21, 2024
Time: 11 am (CET)

Please register by using this survey. The link will then be sent to you.

What next?

To the Home Page

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.