Online Seminar Talk

Using Facebook to Estimate Migrant Stock in Latin American and Caribbean Countries

Victoria Prieto (Population Program UDELAR, Uruguay)
Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography, May 04, 2022


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 ground truth timely data for comparisons scarse. Using data on number of monthly active Facebook users labeled as EXPATs from 13 Latin American and Caribbean origins (i) enumerated in 21 countries from the same region (j), we estimate the number of foreign-born people from country i living in j for 2019 and 2020. In addition, this paper provides a critical overview of recent UN bilateral migration stock estimates for LAC, pointing out a significant change in estimation methods and data sources used in the 2019 and 2021 revisions to account for the recent Venezuelan, Cuban, and Haitian intraregional migration. Results show a significant association between monthly number of Facebook users and UN migration stock estimates which varies from 2019 to 2021 revisions, age, countries of origin and destination.


Victoria Prieto-Rosas serves as an assistant professor for the Population Program at the University of the Republic (Uruguay) since 2013. She is 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). Is 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, social inclusion of immigrants and returnees in South American countries, and the assessment of traditional and non-traditional data sources to study human mobility.

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.