Given the social impact of the large number of forced migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan applying for asylum across Europe since fall 2015, it is crucial to study who these individuals are in terms of their skills, motivations, and intentions. The study DiPAS (Displaced Persons in Austria Survey) at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) aims to uncover the socio-demographic characteristics of the refuge-seeking persons who arrived in Austria in 2015, with a particular focus on human capital (educational attainment and professional qualifications) as well as attitudes and values. Respondents were also asked about their origins and family backgrounds as well as journey routes and return intentions.
The DiPAS survey, the first of its kind in Austria and possibly in Europe, was carried out in November and December 2015 among adult displaced persons, mostly residing in Eastern Austria in NGO-run facilities of Fonds Soziales Wien, Caritas, Workers’ Samaritan Federation, Red Cross, and Diakonie Austria. Interviews were conducted in Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Pashto, Kurdish, and English. Conceptualization and implementation of the multi-lingual questionnaire was supported by Syrian demographer Dr. Zakarya Al Zalak (IIASA), until recently the director of the Statistical Technical Institute in Damascus.
Based on 514 completed interviews, DiPAS aims to provide substantiated data for political decision-making and on-going societal dialogue. Information gathered on spouses and children (household survey) allows for the analysis of 458 persons living in Austria, and of further 419 partners and children abroad, which shall help to make informed assessments about the integration potential of recently arrived Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans into the Austrian host society. In addition, the applied methodological technique and experiences during the fieldwork shall provide valuable insights on sampling asylum seekers and refugees in the current European context.
The following link leads to additional background information regarding the project (in german language only):