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CITP Seminar: Emilio Zagheni – Combining Social Media and Survey Methods for Health and Migration Research

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Photo of Emilio Zagheni

Video available here.

This talk discusses recent developments in the use of social media platforms as a source of data, and as a tool for survey research, in order to improve our understanding of migration and population health, and to support policy decisions. It concentrates on two main components: (i) the use of Facebook data to measure migration and mobility in the aftermath of natural disasters; (ii) the use of Facebook as a tool for survey research, with a focus on methods and initial results for the Covid-19 Health Behavior Survey (CHBS). CHBS is an online survey that was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research daily from Mar. 13 to Aug. 12, 2020, resulting in approximately 144,000 completed questionnaires across eight countries in Europe and North America. The survey relied on participant recruitment via targeted advertisement and collected information on people’s health, attitudes, behaviors, and social contacts relevant for understanding how people responded to Covid-19 and to physical distancing guidelines.

The talk concludes by showing how social media surveys can also be used to assess the validity of passively collected social media data that are increasingly made available by social media advertisement platforms. This opens up new directions for social science research that combines social media analysis and survey methods.

This talk is co-sponsored by CITP and the Princeton Survey Research Center.


Emilio Zagheni is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) and an affiliate associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington, where he served as training director of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology. He received his doctoral degree in demography (2010) and master’s degree in statistics (2008) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Emilio is best known for his work on combining digital trace data and traditional sources to track and understand migrations and to advance population science. In 2016 he received the Trailblazer Award for Demographic Analysis from the European Association for Population Studies for his role in developing the field of Digital and Computational Demography. As co-chair of the Digital Demography Panel of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, he has played a key role in favoring collaboration and exchange between demographers, statisticians and computational social scientists.

To request accommodations for a disability please contact Jean Butcher, , at least one week prior to the event.