Facebook Uses Our Profile Data to Track and Predict Global Migration Patterns!

Facebook Uses Our Profile Data to Track and Predict Global Migration Patterns!

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Came across a rather interesting note from Facebook.  From the stables of Facebook Data Science team an intriguing set of insights are coming – called Coordinated Migration.  What is Coordinated Migration?

In a coordinated migration, a significant proportion of the population of a city has migrated, as a group, to a different city. More specifically, a flow of population from city A (hometown) to another city B (current city) is considered a coordinated migration if, among the cities in which people from hometown A currently live, city B is the city with the largest number of individuals with current city B, and hometown A.

With over a billion users worlwide, Facebook has a unique vantage point to capture and then analyze the data of all these users to find interesting migration patterns.  The cities that people that in vogue as the Destination cities and the cities from where people are moving out of.

They have a very interesting methodology to measure this migration:

For a given hometown h, let c(h) denote the most likely current city of the users from hometown h, that is, the city c(h) is the most often listed as current city among the users from hometown h. Let p(h) denote the percentage of users from hometown h who currently live in the city c(h). Note that p(h) essentially represents the (empirical) conditional probability that a user lists c(h) as current city given that he or she lists h as hometown.

For instance, let’s say 1,000,000 people list Boston as their hometown on Facebook. Out of these individuals, 300,000 list Boston as their current city, and no other city has more individuals listing Boston as their hometown. From the definitions above, it follows that Boston is the most likely current city for people who grew up in Boston. People who grew up in Boston still live there with a 30% probability. This is quite a common occurrence – for many cities, people are most likely to stay where they grew up. The study of coordinated migration focuses on cities for which the most likely current city is different from the hometown. For example, 67% of the individuals with Badagri, Nigeria as hometown have Lagos, Nigeria as their current city. Lagos is the most likely current city for people from Badagri.

What are some of the findings?

#Facebook Uses Our Profile Data to Track and Predict Global Migration Patterns! Click To Tweet

The findings of urban movements are really very interesting.  I would not have thought of these quite honestly.

Urbanization growth between 2000 and 2012 for the top coordinated migration destinations (Facebook / Notes)

Urbanization growth between 2000 and 2012 for the top coordinated migration destinations (Facebook / Notes)

The migration into the US cities from the Latino destinations is very predictable nevertheless.  While the Cubans prefer Miami (duh!), those migrating from Mexico go to Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Also Read:  Quitting Facebook Makes you Happier, Less Angry, Decisive and have Better Social Life!

What this entire Data science does is to have the ability to use our daily data that we input to make a larger determination of what is happening in the world.  That is a HUGE possibility and an opportunity!

Featured Image source: Flickr

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