IZA DP No. 3173: Surveying Migrant Households: A Comparison of Census-Based, Snowball, and Intercept Point Surveys
published in: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), 2009, 172 (2), 339-360
Few representative surveys of households of migrants exist, limiting our ability to study the effects of international migration on sending families. We report the results of an experiment designed to compare the performance of three alternative survey methods in collecting data from Japanese-Brazilian families, many of whom send migrants to Japan. The three surveys conducted were 1) Households selected randomly from a door-to-door listing using the Brazilian Census to select census blocks; 2) A snowball survey using Nikkei community groups to select the seeds; and 3) An intercept point survey collected at Nikkei community gatherings, ethnic grocery stores, sports clubs, and other locations where family members of migrants are likely to congregate. We analyze how closely well-designed snowball and intercept point surveys can approach the much more expensive census-based method in terms of giving information on the characteristics of migrants, the level of remittances received, and the incidence and determinants of return migration.