The effect of the 2011 statistics reform on the estimations of youth migration intensity: a cohort-component analysis
The system of statistical migration records in Russia was reformed in 2011. According to the new regulations, anyone registered in a different region for at least 9 months is considered to be a migrant – as opposed to the previous 12-month threshold. This change in regulations revealed the real volume of educational migration. Before the reform, students who moved to their place of study for an academic year were often still considered as living with their parents, where they were registered and spent the summer months. In this paper, we compare the intensity of inter-regional migration of youths aged 17-21 in two periods: (1) just before the reform – 2003-2010 and (2) right after the reform – 2011-2013. To compare the intensities correctly, we employ cohort-component analysis. The intensity of migration at student ages increased by a factor of 2.5. The available data is not sufficient to figure out which part of the increase is due to the statistical reform itself, and which part could be explained with a possible real growth of youth migration intensity. Yet, the leaping nature if the change hints on the apparent growth of the migration intensity of the youths is merely a data artifact. The distribution of regions by the intensity of migration growth in student cohorts became closer to normal, indicating a possible improvement of migration statistics.