The main reason why representative samples of immigrants are difficult and therefore costly to obtain is that comprehensive sampling frames are difficult to come by. The question which emerges is whether having access to data re sources which cover the entire population provides a remedy for the data problems mentioned above. In order to provide an answer, this article examines the cases of Denmark and Sweden. The two countries have built a complex system of domain-specific registers databases of records of all legally residing individuals connected to a central population register for details, see Danish and Swedish population registers as sources of research data: Under certain conditions, these registers are available to researchers.
Having access to the entire population in the registers provides researchers with rich objective data on immigrants and with an ideal sampling frame from which to extract high-quality immigrant samples for surveys as sources of subjective data. The paper builds on information collected from three main sources: It is undeniable that the availability of register data to scholars outside governmental institutions puts the research context in these two countries in a category of their own.
Consequently, the likelihood that the type of research conducted in these two countries can be replicated in other countries is low notable exceptions are the other Nordic countries, which also have centralized register systems. Our analysis will, therefore, speak to the research communities in these countries and to the competent authorities and provide arguments which will hopefully show the benefits of opening up the data in these registers to scholarly research.
The remainder of the article is structured as follows.
Turkish immigrants in the European Union : determinants of immigration and integration | EIGE
The paper starts with a brief introduction to the registers in the two countries and a discussion of the characteristics of the data included in them, with particular attention to data concerning immigrants. We then elaborate on how these data are used. Firstly, we present their official use, focusing on the definitions and categories used by the statistical agencies in the two countries. We conclude that, with few exceptions, integration studies are mainly register-based; we then reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
Thirdly, we discuss the opportunities and caveats of using the registers as sampling frames for immigrant surveys. The Danish Civil Registration System hereafter CRS is a centralized nation-wide civil register which includes basic personal data for every individual who has received a personal identification number CPR number.
The CRS contains information on all persons residing in Denmark since and in Greenland since Data on immigrants are input by the municipalities where they reside. Access to these registers is restricted under Data Protection Regulations. Researchers interested in doing register-based research must comply with the regulations and apply to the Data Protection Agency for permission to access the registers.
Foreign researchers can gain access indirectly, through affiliation with a Danish authorised research institution Statistics Denmark, For non-affiliated researchers, it is advisable to contact the institutions managing the datasets of interest to find out about conditions of access. The CRS can be used to identify immigrants because it contains information on place of birth and citizenship.
For all persons living in Denmark or Greenland, the CRS contains information on the full address municipality, road and house number and the date when they moved to that address. For immigrants, information on country of origin and, for emigrants, information on the country of emigration, is recorded, along with the dates at which this occurred.
According to Danish legislation, each resident is obliged to inform the CRS about changes to his or her permanent address within five days of such change occurring. Therefore, CRS data are likely to be accurate however, see "Danish and Swedish population registers as sources of research data: The CRS also contains information on citizenship. However, register-based citizenship has limited reliability in the identification of immigrants because, when a person receives Danish citizenship, the CRS records only the Danish citizenship and drops the original one.
Therefore, naturalization cases can be identified only by looking at long-term data. The register includes only the current citizenship; multiple citizenships are not recorded. The core of the official statistics system is the Swedish National Population Registration System, administered by the tax authorities. When a person is registered, she or he is given a personal identification number. This number is used for registration in all areas employment, health and welfare. Both administrative and statistical registers based on individuals, as well as sample surveys, have a personal identification number variable and this facilitates the linkage between the different datasets.
Data on individuals are protected under the Secrecy Act. The main principle is that microdata can be accessed in a coded and unidentifiable manner for research purposes if the owner of the data approves the request. If a researcher wants to use data from a register managed by an authority and wants to link this information to data from Statistics Sweden, the request must be approved by the authority in question as well as by a regional ethical board.
If the request is approved, the authority sends the data to Statistics Sweden, with the personal identification number replaced with a sequence number. The authority sends the key to the code to Statistics Sweden, which uses the same code on the data requested from them before sending the coded data to the researcher. The key to the code will be saved for three months at Statistics Sweden. In the Official Statistics Act Foreign researchers may have access if they are affiliated with a Swedish research institution.
For non-affiliated researchers, it is advisable to contact the data manager to find out about conditions of access. As family members can be traced, the second and third generations of immigrants can be identified by looking up the country of origin of the parent s and grandparent s respectively. As in Denmark, citizenship is available, but its usefulness in properly identifying immigrants is limited because, if a person acquires Swedish citizenship, only the Swedish citizenship is recorded, regardless of other citizenships.
If a person holds multiple citizenships, only one is recorded. As a research tool, Danish and Swedish registers have several undoubted qualities. This section presents these qualities in general, and reflects upon the usefulness of registers as data sources for research on immigrants. Firstly, the registers provide complete information. They provide the researchers with access to the entire population of the respective administrative unit which, in the case of Denmark and Sweden, means the entire legally residing population, as the registers are centralized at the national level.
Secondly, the registers provide longitudinal data. Thirdly, registers provide accurate data. By recording information in predetermined categories and by recording the exact dates of changes, the data included in registers are particularly accurate. To the extent that the administrative definitions remain the same, the data are largely comparable over time. Overall, the data quality is ensured by the quality control protocols in place Eurostat, ; UN, Moreover, as government agencies routinely use these data, it is likely that errors will be noticed and corrected Schmidt et al.
Fourthly, and related to the previous point, registers provide data which are less sensitive to bias related to self-reporting from concerns for privacy to recall problems compared to surveys. This advantage becomes clearer especially when the topics are considered sensitive or when respondents, for a variety of reasons, feel uncomfortable in an interview situation. As will be shown in "The use of registers: In addition to these features, which are characteristic of all registers, the linkability through the personal identity numbers makes Danish and Swedish registers particularly attractive for researchers — as previously discussed, this feature allows the researcher to pull together longitudinal data from registers as diverse as labour market enrolment, education, income, social transfers or health.
There are several reasons why registers can be especially useful for studies focusing on immigrants. Firstly, in strictly practical terms, collecting data on immigrants through surveys can be costly. Moreover, it is fair to say that, although the situation has improved compared to only a decade ago, survey data on immigrants are scarce, as there are relatively few datasets publicly available. Some immigrant data are available from large cross-national survey initiatives, like the ESS or national surveys but, unless immigrants are purposefully sampled, their numbers in the final samples are likely to remain small.
Although, more recently, several research projects have surveyed immigrants, only a few have made their raw data publicly available. Only a few countries systematically collect data on their immigrant communities. Secondly, most of the currently available data on immigrants are cross-sectional.
The main weaknesses of cross-sectional studies are their limited ability to provide evidence for causality. They are also not ideal for testing theoretical arguments which imply long-term integration processes.
The panels which include immigrants, while addressing the issue of longitudinal information, suffer from their own problems. In particular, panel attrition is considerably higher among immigrants compared to natives. It also varies dramatically across countries, which is relevant if cross-country comparisons are intended: Equally important to mention is the fact that immigrants who remain in the panel are positively selected. This selection bias has been documented for Sweden Edin et al. In contrast to these data sources, registers provide accurate longitudinal data thus addressing the shortcomings of cross-sectional datasets and are less affected by refusal-driven attrition.
Registers are, however, affected by attrition due to natural causes, such as death and return migration. While death is likely to be adequately recorded, return migration is problematic for register data and implicitly for studies based on them. Labour contracts, individual preferences, increased purchasing power, acquired human capital, risk diversification and relative deprivation are seen as important factors causing return migration.
Earlier studies for Sweden have shown that the rate of return can vary widely between the various immigrant groups.
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These studies also argue that the rate of return depends heavily on the motivation to migrate. Studies based on register data have several statistical techniques to control for outmigration and possible biases connected to this and therefore increase their reliability. Although it can be easily agreed upon that registers provide high-quality data for integration research, an improvement therefore over other sources, some qualifications are needed. Firstly, the personal identity number in the Danish and Swedish statistical system is vital for the production of linked data; however, the central importance of this number is also a weakness of the system.
If a person has not received a personal identity number, she or he will not be included in any of the regular statistical databases and an individual can only get a personal identification number if s he intends to stay for longer than one year in Sweden or three to six months in Denmark and has the legal right to do so. As a consequence, reliable data on short-term immigrants are missing. This also means that groups of immigrants, such as refugees or immigrants who have received a permit on other protective grounds, will be included in the population register and regular statistics only a couple of years after they have arrived in Sweden or Denmark.
Secondly, since the registers include only the legally resident population, illegal immigrants, the undocumented or immigrants whose legal status has not been clarified are likely to be absent from this source. If a researcher is interested in capturing these categories, other identification methods need to be used. Thirdly, the registers tend to over-cover foreign-born persons. This is due to the fact that there are no incentives to report to the tax authorities or municipalities that they are leaving the country. The over-coverage has been estimated at ca.
Over-coverage is corrected post-hoc when the various administrative bodies identify that persons on their registers have emigrated. A typical example for this situation is completed education prior to immigration, which can be biased in two ways: In the following sub-sections, three main uses of registers will be elaborated upon: Registers are the main sources of information for population statistics. Although in , the European Union has drawn up guidelines for population statistics to be collected by Eurostat, 9 these guidelines are not always adopted when statistics are reported for domestic audiences.
Therefore, researchers must be cautious when combining country data from different national sources. This section will elaborate upon the different categories and definitions used by the statistical institutes of Denmark and Sweden for classifying their respective non-native populations. Statistics Denmark started to separately report data on immigrants from but, based on register data, statistics on this group can be obtained from much earlier.
The information about immigrants and their descendants is comparable from onwards. The coordination of the various concepts to regulate statistical information has been enacted in Sweden since MIS, Statistics Denmark reported that , foreigners , first-generation immigrants and , descendants were legally residing in Denmark at the end of Two groups stand out: The increase in the number of immigrants from Asia reflects the recognition of refugees from war-torn countries.
The largest increases, from the mids on, are visible by the groups of immigrants originating in Asia mainly from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and Africa mainly from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia , driven by family reunifications and, more recently, by the recognition of refugees originating from these areas. Comparatively, the increase due to immigrants from the new EU member-states is relatively modest though most additions to this group come from Poland and Romania. First-generation immigrant population in Denmark, —, by broad area of origin.
Turkish Immigrants in the European Union
First-generation immigrant population in Sweden, —, by broad area of origin. Main terms and categories used to report on the non-native population in the official statistics of Denmark and Sweden. Foreign-born are divided by the duration of stay in two categories: Children of foreigners are reported in three groups: Statistics Denmark uses the following criteria: If the person is an immigrant, it is assumed that the country of origin is equal to the country of birth.
If the person is a descendant, it is assumed that the country of origin is equal to the country of citizenship. If this is Denmark, the country of citizenship is used. Non-Western countries are all other countries Statistics Denmark, If a claim is accepted, the state extends one of several forms of protection Under the Convention, humanitarian, temporary, etc , i. This summary description of the main concepts used by the Swedish and Danish authorities to collect and report data on immigrants and emigrants reveals the following:.
Correspondence between concepts used by Statistics Denmark and the respective population groups. Correspondence between concepts used by Statistics Sweden and the respective population groups. Researchers can opt either to build their own datasets, taking advantage of the linkability of the registers, or to use the pre-set longitudinal databases which the Danish and Swedish statistical institutes offer for research. For example, the most important database for migration and integration research in Sweden is STATIV, while, in Denmark, IDA Danish Integrated Database for Labour Market Research includes background information to identify immigrants, and thereby enables the study of their labour-market incorporation Timmermans, In the following, we survey English-language social-science immigration research, 12 focusing on the type of research questions addressed in this literature and the use of register data.
The results are likely highly to be reliable both because they use very large samples usually the entire immigrant population and a large sample of the native population and because their detailed data on labour-market history, family background, socio-demographics and income allow the isolation of the effects of the variables of interest with precision.
A typical example for studies in this field is Rosholm et al. The study finds that, although the labour market conditions in the two countries moved in different directions between and , immigrants experienced a decline in employment prospects. This decline was experienced by immigrants from Norway, as well as from Poland, Iran, and Turkey, albeit at different rates.
The authors conclude that more flexible employment forms, the move towards specialised skills and new forms of capital make immigrants less attractive on the labour market. First- and second-generation immigrants are compared, both to each other and to natives, across different ethnic groups. As the registers allow the identification of family members as well as their objective conditions living arrangements, income and health status , the processes of interest can be traced at the family level and therefore the effects of family-related factors can be captured more accurately than it is usually the case through surveys.
For example, Nielsen draws on assimilation theories and aims to find evidence for both spatial and straight-line assimilation in the transition of leaving home in Denmark. The author compared Turks, Somalis and Danes and found intergenerational spatial mobility in all groups, which he interprets as evidence for straight-line assimilation. However, neighborhood characteristics affected mobility: This study illustrates well the power of register-based research to generate accurate analyses by providing ample data.
As to the data per se, the researcher had access to detailed information — such as income, educational level, social group, gender, type of family, number of family members, date of first leaving the parental home — on all individuals in the sample and, from the housing register, parental house conditions, such as tenure type and the dimensions of parental housing unit. Moreover, based on housing register and individual information, the percentage of ethnic minorities in the parental neighborhood could be calculated. All in all, studies in these two categories share several characteristics, which give considerable weight to their reliability and validity: They bring in detailed register records which provide accurate information about the conditions and characteristics of individuals and their living and working contexts, and which allow the effects of the factors of interest to be accurately isolated.
Without denying the insights that these studies have brought forward, we have to recognize that register data uncover only a limited palette of possible integration processes, in particular those related to socio-economic integration. Cultural integration, preferences and attitudes, which are strong signifiers of attachment to the host country, cannot be researched through register data. Moreover, register-based studies are limited in their ability to explain the mechanisms behind some of the patterns observed.
For example, Nielsen observed that age at migration increases the over-education risk for immigrants educated in Denmark, but lowers it for those educated abroad. The author speculated that this may be the effect of work experience that later migrants might have had before arriving in Denmark. However, in the absence of data about actual behaviors and preferences, none of these explanations could be tested and thus remained highly credible speculation.
In the next section, the use of registers to select immigrant samples for such studies is discussed. However, before this, we have to mention the third use of registers, namely as complements for survey data. A good example of this use is the study by Jensen and Rasmunssen on the effect of immigrant concentration on the educational performance of immigrant and native children. Thus, they were able to add more variables to their study, which proved essential for constructing relevant instruments and reducing possible omitted variable bias in their models.
These findings indicate that combining register with survey data can be a successful strategy to increase the accuracy of the findings even when the survey provides only cross-sectional information. A similar strategy has been used by other studies: Plenty and Jonsson combined the Swedish CILS4EU survey of adolescents and register data on family income and parents and found that students with immigrant backgrounds felt rejected more than majority youth and that first-generation non-European immigrants felt more isolated.
Hjalmarsson uses a similar data combination strategy and finds that adolescents who recently arrived in Sweden are more likely to experience peer rejection than their Swedish counterparts. In spite of these limitations in current research combining register and survey data, we would like to encourage researchers and governments to see this combination as the way forward in immigration and integration research. We argue that, compared to the studies mentioned under the previous two categories, research following this approach has some undeniable advantages.
Moreover, one has to acknowledge that, albeit accurate, register data may be misleading, because they reflect only the interactions that individuals have with the institutions of the state which is maintaining the registers. It means that they do not capture a whole other range of behaviors, which may be equally relevant for assessing integration, and here surveys can make a difference.
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For example, Nielsen et al. If only register data had been used for this study, the authors would have concluded that immigrants are healthier than native Danes, because the health register records fewer doctor visits by the former than by the latter. An essential step in developing research designs which combine register data with survey data is to develop ways of producing a reliable and high-quality sample of the population of interest, in this case immigrants.
In the following section we turn our attention to this issue and discuss the use of population registers as sampling frames in Denmark and Sweden, emphasizing the strengths and the caveats of this approach. Theoretically, Danish and Swedish population registers are ideal sampling frames: Such samples can be extracted at the national, the local and the regional level. Kirisci, Kemal, Published London: Subjects Immigrants -- Europe Union countries.
- Using population registers for migration and integration research: examples from Denmark and Sweden;
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Turks -- Europe Union countries. Social integration -- European Union countries. European Union countries -- Emigration and immigration. Turkey -- Emigration and immigration. Determinants of Immigration 1. Demographic developments and "complementarities": Determinants of integration 4. Comparing integration policies and outcomes: The Turkish community in Austria and Belgium: Gender dynamics in the context of Turkish marriage migration: Includes bibliographical references and index.
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