Digital and Computational Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team


Assessing Migration Patterns in Latin America by Combining Traditional and Digital Trace Data Sources

Emanuele Del Fava, Aliakbar Akbaritabar, Emilio Zagheni; in Collaboration with Victoria Prieto Rosas, Julieta Bengochea, Camila Montiel (all: Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay)

Detailed Description

Over the last five years, Latin America has been experiencing rapid increases in regional migration, mainly due to rising flows of Venezuelans, Haitians, and Colombians. Census data provide information about historical trends. However, as they are run just every ten years, they are not suitable to capture new patterns of flows in a timely manner. The emergence of new migration systems has thus been investigated mainly with household survey data.

This project seeks to shed new light on recent migration patterns using all available data. Its main objectives are:

  1. To produce a new set of consistent migration flow estimates by sex and age; these are based on historical census data and provide a broad description of past international migration patterns within Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of the directionality and the volume of migration flows and the demographic profiles of migrants.
  2. To quantify international migrants in Uruguay and their characteristics, at different levels of granularity. We do so by complementing estimates obtained from surveys and administrative registers with those generated from digital traces, such as those made available via the advertisement platforms of major social media companies. 
  3. To carry out an online immigration survey that involves recent immigrants in Uruguay, using the Facebook advertising platform as a recruitment tool to target what would be a hard-to-reach population of interest.

The project arises from formal collaboration between the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography and the Population Program at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, where an ANII-MPG independent research group, headed by Victoria Prieto, is established. The ANII-MPG agreement enables outstanding early-career scholars in Uruguay with several years of postdoctoral experience to establish their own research group in collaboration with researchers at a Max Planck institute.

Research Keywords:

Data and Surveys, International Migration, Ethnic Minorities, Migration

Region keywords:

America, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela


Bengochea Soria, J.; Del Fava, E.; Prieto Rosas, V.; Zagheni, E.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2021-019. (2021)    
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.