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Research Pillar on International Migration

Research in the International Migration pillar at ADRI is focused in two areas. The first area is based on quantifying migration patterns. Often international migration data is missing or of poor quality. We use statistical methods to estimate migration patterns at the global, Asian and national level by combining a variety of data, ranging from national statistics to new emerging data sources from social media.  The second area of research is based on the assessment of past and future migration trends. International migration patterns are becoming an increasingly important social, economic and demographic issue in Asia. We are exploring how these factors have driven past patterns of migration and developing plausible scenarios to study their possible future demographic impacts.


Core members:

Guy Abel (Pillar Leader, Professor)

Nayoung Heo (Postdoctoral Researcher)


External collaborators:

James Raymer (Australian National University, Australia)

Arek Wiśniowski (University of Manchester, UK)

Raya Muttarak (University of East Anglia, UK)

Dilek Yildaz and Guillermo Vinué Visús (Vienna Institute of Demography, Austria)

Lee Fiorio (University of Washington, USA)

Jixuan Cai (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Qi Wei (Chinse Academy of Sciences, China)

Alessandro Sorichetta (WorldPop, University of Southampton, UK)


Research Assistants:

Miaolin Wei, Xuan Dong, Xu Shuqiang



Guy Abel is the leader of the International Migration pillar in the Asian Demographic Research Institute, a professor within the School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University. His research focuses on applying statistical methods to estimate international migration and forecast components of population change. He developed a framework to link global bilateral migrant stock data with demographic data to provide first-of-a-kind set of estimates of migration flows between all countries whilst as a research scientist at the Vienna Institute of Demography. In collaboration with colleagues, these estimates were used as base data for scenario based global population projections by education level and religion. His experience in estimating bilateral migration flows has developed from combining data on moves within England and Wales and Europe whilst studying at the University of Southampton. He is currently developing Bayesian methods to simultaneously model traditional and emerging big data on migration. He gained experience in using advanced statistical methods to forecast migration and population during a post-doctoral role at the ESRC Centre for Population Change.


Nayoung Heo

(Korean, Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, USA) joined the institute as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the pillar of International Migration. Her research interests include factors and consequences of marriage migration, educational outcomes of multicultural children, and demography of South Korea. Currently she is participating in a few projects on cross-national internal migration patterns and demographic processes and their impacts in South Korea. Her manuscripts are under review in sociology/demography journals.