A Demolinguistic Approach to Study Immigrants' Integration Using Facebook Data

Daniela Ghio, Toronto Metropolitan University
Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal
Spyratos Spyros, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Michele Vespe , Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Ingmar Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute

Researchers acknowledge the key role played by language for a successful integration of immigrants in the destination societies. Demolinguistics, introduced by French demographers at the University of Montréal in the 1970s, provides an ideal framework for linking migration to the demographic composition of linguistic groups and distribution of populations, based on Jacques Henripin's conceptualization of demography, as a science serving society using social media to improve scientific knowledge (Henripin, 1974). This paper presents preliminary results in the field, as part of a Centre of Advanced Studies' project proposal aimed to build-up capacity in accessing and analysing social media, in coordination with European Commission Services. Three axes of research activities are defined. First, the validation of Facebook as source of data for demolinguistic studies through a comparative analysis between Canadian census and Facebook data. The method designs a reweighting method adjusting sample of Facebook users to account for coverage, selectivity and self-assessment biases. Second, the mapping of social interactions of immigrants living in the European Union, considering the language they use in Facebook network as a proxy for their propensity to be incorporated into the European culture. Finally, we investigate the role of English as lingua franca across the European Member-States.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy