Using IP Address Geolocation to Analyze International Migration and Mobility Patterns

Bogdan State, Stanford University
Ingmar Weber, Yahoo! Research Barcelona
Emilio Zagheni, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)

The increasing use of Internet worldwide has generated new opportunities for the study of migrations. Geolocation data resulting from repeated logins to the same website offer the possibility of tracking long-term patterns of mobility for a large number of individuals. We use data on the geographic locations from where over 100 million anonymized users log into Yahoo! services to generate the first global map of short- and long-term mobility flows. We compute aggregate estimates of migration propensities between countries, as inferred from users' locations over the period July 2011 - July 2012. Geolocation data allow us to characterize the extent to which migrants travel back and forth between their country of origin and destination. Our statistical analysis documents the importance of geographic distance, visa regimes, colonial ties and economic development to explain global human mobility. Our methods have important implications for the future of collection and analysis of migration statistics.

  See paper

Presented in Session 180: Migration Data and Methods