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Since emigration and immigration plug into the highly sensitive and subjective issues of nationhood and identity, the definition of what a migrant is and is not, and the dissemination of knowledge about international migration are themselves intrinsically subjective matters.

Since statistics are produced out of data routinely collected by state administrations and because international migration moves individuals from one state to another, data on international migration are by their very nature difficult to collect and require international harmonisation of statistical procedures.

The paper reviews and discusses the various criteria that states use to define a migrant: the country of birth and the country of citizenship of individuals and, by cases, those of their parents, as well as their duration of stay. It shows that in migration matters, truth is not unique, and different points of view can produce contrasted, but not contradictory, estimates.


FARGUES Philippe


European University Institute, 2014

Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2014/71; Migration Policy Centre

ISSN: 1028-3625

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