Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - Chapter 8

Using big data to estimate migration “push factors” from Africa

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This chapter explores the use of big data to estimate monthly country-level “push factors” of asylum-related migration. It also looks at whether estimates of push factors in countries of origin correlate with traditional data on irregular migration on the CentralMediterranean Route and asylum applications lodged in Italy. The frequency of negative and disruptive events in individual countries was aggregated into a composite Push Factor Index, which strongly correlates with applications for asylum in Europe in 2016 and 2017. However, following the effective closure of the Central Mediterranean Route in 2018 and 2019, this correlation was no longer apparent, showing that the explanatory power of the Push Factor Index is dependent on enabling factors.