Facebook Data Science Team Examines Coordinated Migration


GlobalCoordinatedMigration650Aude Hofleitner, Ta Virot Chiraphadhanakul, and Bogdan State of the Facebook Data Science Team tapped into the social network’s wealth of information to examine what they call coordinated migration, when a significant number of users moved from one city to another, by analyzing aggregate, anonymized data on all users who list both their hometowns and current cities on their profiles.

Their findings were outlined in a note on the Facebook Data Science page. Highlights included:

  • Rapidly urbanizing countries tend to be the sites of major destinations of coordinated migration, while large urban centers in occidental countries — such as San Francisco, New York, and Paris — are not coordinated migration destinations, since they attract people from all over the world.
  • In migrations from Cuba to the U.S., the main destination city is Miami (not surprising), but migrations from Mexico to the U.S. are spread across several destination cities (Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles chief among them). The Facebook Data Science team said, “We interpret this phenomenon as a chain migration: A person first moves and is then joined by other persons from the same hometown. However, the migration is done somewhat independently for people originating from different hometowns.
  • Istanbul was a major coordinated migration destination, both for people from other parts of Turkey, and from elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The Facebook Data Science Team wrote, “We believe that these migrations have cultural and political motives, on top of economical ones. For instance, we observe migration from Bulgaria (with a considerable Turkish minority) and from majority-Muslim Bosnia.

For more of the Facebook Data Science Team’s findings on coordinated migration, see the note on its page.

Readers: Did any of these findings surprise you?