Online Seminar Talk

Online Social Integration of Migrants: Evidence from Twitter

Jisu Kim
Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography, March 15, 2022

Jisu Kim from the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography at MPIDR showed that offline (re)location plays a significant role in the formation of online networks on the example of Twitter.


Migrant integration is a multidimensional process that involves various aspects of migrants’ lives and of host societies. Often, measures of integration rely on employment, education and health statistics or related information. As online social activities have become increasingly important for people’s lives and well-being, understanding processes of integration in online spaces is crucial for providing a more complete picture of integration processes and for understanding social determinants of inequalities.

We consider the platform Twitter and developed, using propensity score matching, a data set that includes 1,242 migrants currently living in the United States and 1,242 non-migrants, matched based on age, gender, time since creation of the Twitter account, number of followers and friends, and country of origin. We prioritised having reliable and high-quality information for users over the size of the data set. Our analyses indicate that, after migrating to the U.S., the fraction of friends who are based in the U.S. increases significantly, on average, from 0.39 to 0.45. In addition, we identified four features that are associated with this increase: being a male migrant, having been in the destination country (U.S.) for a longer period of time, and posting tweets more in English after migration. While following users on Twitter in theory is not a geographically constrained process, our work shows that offline (re)location plays a significant role in the formation of online networks. 


Jisu holds a Ph.D. in Data Science, a joint program with Scuola Normale Superiore, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, IMT School for Advanced Studies, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), and University of Pisa. She is currently a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR). Her research focuses on the intersection of migration sciences, economics of migration, complex social networks, statistical models and data-driven algorithms.

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.