The joint response of the Royal Statistical Society and its Statistics User Forum (SUF) to the House of Commons’ Public Administration select committee’s recent consultation on migration statistics has been published both on the committee’s website
and on rss.org.uk
Migration statistics are often a subject of much debate in the UK and the response acknowledged the importance of measuring migration, as well as welcoming the efforts made in recent years to improve migration statistics.
Despite these improvements, the response stated that migration statistics are ‘still not fully adequate for the task of producing robust population estimates or understanding patterns of migration.’ It also expressed concern on whether further improvements given the reduction in funding for official statistics.
The response noted the limitations of migration data sources such as the International Passenger Survey and data available at local level. While the Census provides a welcome level of detail, the ten year gap between censuses renders it ‘insufficient’ for migration statistics purposes. Also acknowledged were the difficulties in estimating emigration from the UK, with the suggestion that other country’s immigration data should be considered to validate UK estimates.
Finally, there was a recommendation that serious consideration be given to the development of a population register, particularly if alternatives to a census are being considered for the future.