Volume 42 - Article 27 | Pages 763–776 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

A visual tool to explore the composition of international migration flows in the EU countries, 1998–2015

By Beata Nowok

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:11 Mar 2019
Date published:30 Apr 2020
Word count:2113
Keywords:citizenship, compositional data, data visualization, European Union, international migration, shiny application, ternary plots
Additional files:readme.42-27 (text file, 1013 Byte)
 demographic-research.42-27 (zip file, 33 kB)
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on Data Visualization here.


Background: Ternary plots can effectively display compositional data and help to understand its multidimensional patterns. However, they are currently greatly underused in demography.

Objective: My goal is to develop an interactive web-based visualization of compositional data on international migration flows in order to compare its developments over time and across countries, and through this example demonstrate the utility of ternary diagrams.

Methods: R Shiny framework is used to build a web application. Immigration and emigration flows in the EU Member States from 1998 to 2015 are grouped into three conventional categories (nationals of a reporting country, [other] EU nationals, and non-EU nationals) and presented on ternary diagrams.

Results: Compositional data on migration flows can be effectively visualized using ternary plots. An interactive web application has been developed that allows comparative exploratory analysis of immigration and emigration composition and size in the EU countries over time. The impact of the entry of new countries to the EU can be assessed by comparing data referring to the EU composition of 28 Member States with data referring to the EU composition of the reference period.

Conclusions: Ternary plots can facilitate compositional analysis of migration flows grouped into three categories.

Contribution: I introduce ternary plots for an exploratory analysis of migration composition and provide an online tool to carry out illustrative exploration. Demographic analysis of compositional data can benefit from the wider use of such plots.

Author's Affiliation

Beata Nowok - University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Stochastic forecast of the population of Poland, 2005-2050
Volume 17 - Article 11

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» The centered ternary balance scheme: A technique to visualize surfaces of unbalanced three-part compositions
Volume 44 - Article 19    | Keywords: compositional data, data visualization

» Migration responses of immigrants in Spain during the Great Recession
Volume 38 - Article 61    | Keywords: citizenship, European Union

» Visualizing compositional data on the Lexis surface
Volume 36 - Article 21    | Keywords: compositional data, data visualization

» On the contribution of foreign-born populations to overall population change in Europe: Methodological insights and contemporary evidence for 31 European countries
Volume 46 - Article 7    | Keywords: international migration

» Now-casting Romanian migration into the United Kingdom by using Google Search engine data
Volume 45 - Article 40    | Keywords: international migration


»Volume 42





Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID