Belgium: The debate over statistics

The Belgian Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, headed by Jozef De Witte, put out a press release accusing sociologist Jan Hertogen of abusing statistics. The press release is signed by De Witte and researchers from several universities. Hertogen had recently come out with data showing that as of 2004 Moroccans are the largest group of immigrants in Belgium. Apparently that's a racist notion.

De Witte accuses Hertogen of the following: that his methods are too simplistic, that this leads to distorted results, that the limited reliability of the results does not allow to know the precise numbers of Italian and Moroccans in Belgium, that the research simplifications go way beyond what can honestly be concluded from the data and that other publications and studies show these results are false.

Since the official statistics only bring information about immigrants, and not about those people who naturalized, Hertogen tried to get to that information by analyzing the data. However, De Witte points out, Hertogen did not take into account deaths and emigration of naturalized Belgians. According to a study brought by the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, on January 1st, 2005 there were 279,180 Italians and 242,802 Moroccans.

As for Hertogen's claim that the Moroccan immigration wave will reach a high point in 2016, the Center says that no respectable researcher would dare give such an estimate.

Hertogen answers that it is true he did not take into account deaths and emigration by the naturalized Belgians, but he did take into account births either. Besides which, he would expect deaths to be higher for Italian immigrants, who came to Belgium much earlier than the Moroccans. He would also expect the Moroccan birth rate to be higher, and that was not even taken into account in his analysis.

As for the "peak" in immigration, Hertogen's says his conclusions come from comparison with the Italian immigration.

The Center agrees that there is no debate over whether Moroccans would one day be the largest group of immigrants. Apparently they do not believe in demographic projections and so, though they stress the importance of having data at hand, they do not bring their own estimates as to when this would happen.

Sources: Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Non-Profit Data (Hertogen) (Dutch)

See also: Belgium: Moroccans largest group, Belgian family reunification immigration sharply rising

1 comment:

independentvoter said...

What is projected percentage of the population that would be Muslim by 2016 in Belgium?

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