Stanford scholars have designed a new algorithm to help resettled refugees integrate into society. Integration is often a complex issue, with refugees forced to abandon their homeland and seek security in a country they may know very little about. As the global refugee crisis continues to escalate, countries are being forced to act, often in the face of public backlash. But it’s not solely where people come from that has an impact on their rate of successful integration—it’s also where they end up.
In the report headed by Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab, researchers analyzed historical data on refugee resettlement in the United States and Switzerland, producing an algorithm that processes multiple factors to formalize the perfect match between an individual and a location. The results were noteworthy, to say the least. If the algorithm had been used to assign all the asylum seekers who entered Switzerland between 1999 and 2013 to the area that would best support them, the employment rate would have been 73 percent higher.
Importantly, the report stated that algorithm could be implemented at virtually no cost, providing much needed assistance to under-resourced government departments. Jeremy Weinstein, a professor of political science at Stanford and a co-author of the study, said: “As one looks at the refugee crisis globally, it’s clear that it’s not going away anytime soon and that we need research-based policies to navigate through it.”