64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

New insights with "old" register data: from cross-sectional to longitudinal migration statistics


64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Format: CPS Abstract

Keywords: longitudinal, migration, population, register

Session: CPS 24 - Statistics and migration

Monday 17 July 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Canada/Eastern)


Swiss official statistics traditionally look at immigration and emigration from a cross-sectional perspective, focusing on the persons staying for more than one year in Switzerland. Doing so, some aspects of international migration – or rather “mobility” – up to now fell out of focus. Since 2022, the newly developed longitudinal demographic statistics (DVS) allows for original insights into the migration landscape in Switzerland by cohort analysis. The new statistics link data from various register sources and construct time-harmonized biographies using standardized and transparent production rules.
The cumulative longitudinal database starts in 2010, year of the systematic introduction of a personal identification number enhancing the possibilities of data linkages. The dataset today adds up to 11 million records, telling stories about migration trajectories. For example, 75% of all observed persons did not engage in any international migration, the remaining quarter showing at least one migration movement. Among all persons that immigrated to Switzerland in 2011, 53% had left the country again until 2021. On the other hand, only 23% of the emigrants from 2011 reversed their migration movement in the following decade by returning to Switzerland. Among foreigners who immigrated in 2011 and stayed continuously until 2021, a majority managed to obtain a more long-term residence permit; 3% even got Swiss citizenship.
This talk will present the background, methods and results of the longitudinal demographic statistics, also addressing questions on appropriate dissemination approaches. It will thus exemplify how existing register data can be used and reused for statistical purposes and how data linkage enhances the analytic possibilities in official statistics.