Principal investigator

Eleonora Mussino


Sven Drefahl, Andrea Fuentes Monti and Matthew Wallace from Stockholm University, and Eleni Matechou, University of Kent
Vitor Miranda, Statistiska centralbyrån

Funding source

VR-Research Grants Open call 2021 (Humanities and Social Sciences)

Project title

Over-coverage in Population Registers: measurements, determinants and consequences

Project details

Project start: 2022-01-01 Project end: 2024-12-31

Project description

The need for evidence-based policy built on rigorous research has probably never been greater than throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the need for accurate population data. Recent findings, however, have raised concerns regarding the quality of population registers due to the increase of over-coverage.

Over-coverage is introduced through individuals whose death or migration out of the country is not registered. Not only does it give biased estimates of the size of the total population and of subgroups, it also affects measures such as average income, fertility, health and mortality - measures that underpin most policy decisions.

Over-coverage is found to be more pronounced among migrants. Despite general acknowledgment by government agencies and
researchers that over-coverage might induce serious bias into population estimates, there is no common understanding on how to deal with over-coverage in population estimates and social science research.

This project examines and discusses ways of improving current estimation methods using Swedish total population register data. We examine whether over-coverage can explain demographic paradoxes, test how different socioeconomic outcomes are affected by over-coverage, assess if there are common determinants of over-coverage and their impact on policies at national level and across international contexts. This project will enable a more qualified use of registers.