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The “Global Mobilities Database”: A comprehensive, up-to-date global database of different forms of human mobility


The Global Mobilities Database (GMD) is a comprehensive and up-to-date database that covers different forms of human mobility, ranging from long-term resettlement to everyday commuting. The project draws on a range of sources from international organisations to private companies, from digital trace to administrative data, to map human movements between countries worldwide in a longitudinal perspective. In addition to the GMD, the Global Mobilities Project of the Migration Policy Centre plans on launching further databases to provide for a holistic understanding of human mobility with expansive information on visa costs (Visa Cost Dataset), travel costs (Travel Cost Dataset), and the physical infrastructure at border crossings (Border Permeability Dataset).


The results of the Global Mobilities Database are openly available online and cover populations of 169 countries in the database. Air passenger traffic data contributed by the tech company “SABRE” constituted a valuable complement to the data collected by GMD. The GMD is open source and available for fact-based responses to questions from researchers, the media, the public, and policymakers. For instance, the GMD can be employed to outline the effects of changing border control policies on mobility patterns. Overall, this project demonstrates the potential of collaborating with and using the data of private sector organisations to unlock useful insights into global migration flows. Potentially, this approach can be replicated and scaled elsewhere through the collaboration with other partners of relevant business sectors, such as international travel and tourism, mobile network operators, social media, and online search engines.


(Picture: © Migration Policy Centre, Global Mobilities Project)

Last modified
26 May 2021