With an increasing number of migrant children reported missing in Europe, questions arise about the availability, coverage and reliability of data on children migrating to and through the European Union.
Rachel Humphris and Nando Sigona analyses the evidence base in the latest IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre Data Briefing Issue 5, released on 2nd September.
It is estimated that over 250,000 child migrants crossed irregularly into Italy and Greece in 2015. For Italy, of 16,500 child migrants, over 12,000 (72 percent) were unaccompanied. For Greece, no official distinction between accompanied and unaccompanied is made at entry for the purposes of data collection, although the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that at least 10 percent arrived without parents or guardians.
“Child migration into Europe is diverse and often invisible in data and policy. European States consider children as “accompanied” or “unaccompanied” differently. This not only affects the rights and entitlements they receive, but how they are counted in the data,” notes GMDAC Director, Dr. Frank Laczko.
The Briefing, written by Rachel Humphris and Dr. Nando Sigona of the University of Birmingham, UK, highlights the gap between available data and public debate, showing the limitations in data collection and inconsistencies in terminology. Although in some cases data are collected daily on arrival in Greece and Italy, there is a lack of detail.
“When children are identified as “accompanied”, the data are not disaggregated by age or gender. Children remain invisible in the figures and the true numbers are unknown,” note Humphris and Sigona.
According to the researchers, not only are there gaps in data coverage, but also children are “double-counted”. This occurs when different recording mechanisms aggregate, rather than consolidate, their data.
Most attention has focused on the number of “missing” children. The briefing shows that children can be counted in more than one jurisdiction and may be recorded as “missing” at various points throughout their journey. “This double-counting is an important consideration when mapping child migration,” note Humphris and Sigona.
To download the report, please visit: https://publications.iom.int/books/global-migration-data-analysis-centre…