“Brexodus?”: A Longitudinal Approach to Investigate European Migration to the UK Using the Facebook Advertising Platform

Jakub Bijak, University of Southampton
Francesco Rampazzo, University of Southampton
Agnese Vitali, University of Southampton
Ingmar Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute
Emilio Zagheni, University of Washington

International migration to the UK has become a hot topic both in research and in the media. The British Office of National Statistics (ONS), in their August quarterly report, have highlighted a decrease in net migration of EU citizens. Detailed data on migrants’ characteristics are much needed for producing accurate statistics and informing policy. We want to use online advertising data to provide a clearer picture of these migrants. This paper has two aims. First, it aims to create the first longitudinal geo-located dataset from Facebook’s Advertising Platform through a weekly collection from mid-September 2017 onwards for two years. Secondly, it aims to give a weekly picture of immigration from the EU following the EU referendum. The dataset will be stratified by characteristics such as age, gender, country of origin, education level, and employment field. The analysis will complement traditional data sources provided by the ONS and IPS, with which we will compare with our estimates. Then, a time series analysis approach will be used to analyse the data. It will be important to observe the differences by country regarding the trends, cycles, and seasonal changes in the data. With this approach, it will be possible to make projections of future trends in migration using Facebook data. The preliminary results from Facebook show proportions close to the ONS estimates for 2016. This is the starting point for this research.

Presented in Session 109: Big Data and Data Analysis