Workshop Series in Advanced Quantitative Methods for census flow data analysis

Dr Zhiqiang Feng, University of St Andrews and Cecilia Macintyre, National Records of Scotland

Migration and commuting are two types of key agents of population flows which have considerable impacts on localities and regions. The analysis of patterns and dynamics of migration and commuting is fundamentally important in understanding population dynamics for researchers as well as to policy makers dealing with housing provision and traffic planning. In Scotland, like the rest of the UK, thanks to the absence of an official population registration system, censuses provide the most comprehensive and most reliable migration and commuting data, particularly for flows within and between small areas.

Although the census flow data is produced at considerable costs and efforts by the National Records of Scotland, the census flow data has been severely underused. This is largely due to the fact that migration and commuting data are large and complex which presents researchers, academic and non-academic alike, with considerable analytical challenges.

The aim of this project was to conduct knowledge transfer of quantitative methods for flow data by holding two training workshops for AQMeN members. The project introduced the structure of flow data, concepts and advanced quantitative methods in analysing the census flow data. Target audiences included academics and researchers from local authorities and other agencies. This project benefited academic and non-academic researchers and promoted quantitative methods in the analysis of highly complicated flow data.