International migration policies and data

Database on Immigrants in OECD countries (DIOC)


The new Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) provides comprehensive and comparative information on a broad range of demographic and labour market characteristics of immigrants living in OECD countries. The database has been compiled in collaboration with OECD national statistical offices. The main sources of data are population censuses and population registers, sometimes supplemented by labour force surveys.

The DIOC includes information on demographic characteristics (age and gender), duration of stay, labour market outcomes (labour market status, occupations, sectors of activity), fields of study, educational attainment and the place of birth. The reference year of the data is the year 2000.

The database is an extension of the Database on Foreign-born and Expatriates, published in 2005, which presented data on the educational attainment of the population of all OECD countries by place of birth. The first results from the latter were released in a special chapter of Trends in International Migration (OECD 2004) as well as in an OECD Working Paper.


The recent publication A Profile of Immigrant Populations in the 21st Century: Data from OECD Countries (OECD 2008) presents a digest of the new information available in the DIOC. Synthetic tables and maps give a preview of the richness of the data, and thematic chapters offer short analyses of specific issues, such as the gender dimension of the “brain drain”, the international migration of health professionals and the role of low-skilled foreign-born workers in the service sector.

DIOC data can be downloaded free of charge through OECD.Stat: in the “Demography and Population” theme, select the “Migration Statistics” sub-theme and browse the Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) to access the datasets. The interface makes it easy to extract data on specific countries of birth or countries of destination and to create custom tables with many different dimensions.


For users who would like to access the data for use in a statistical software, the raw data files are available in csv or Stata formats:

DIOC raw data csv Part I

DIOC raw data csv Part II

DIOC raw data Stata Part I

DIOC raw data Stata Part II

The sources and methods used to compile the DIOC, including detailed information on the coverage, classifications and definitions of the variables, can be accessed here.

Emigration rates of the total population (15+) and of highly educated persons by country of birth have been calculated using the database. With more than 200 countries of origin represented, these figures allow making worldwide comparisons of the extent of international migration. Emigration rates of tertiary educated persons, which are computed using the figures of the Barro and Lee (2000) database for the tertiary educated population in origin countries, are obtained for more than 100 countries and provide an estimate of the scope and characteristics of the “brain drain” to OECD countries.