Improving integration policy with more reliable data analysis

The Ministry of Integration in Baden-Württemberg harnesses IBM Business Analytics software

Published on 06-Nov-2012

"With IBM SPSS software we are able to solve more than 90 percent of our statistical problems immediately." - Dr. Andreas Wüst, Head of the Integration Monitoring and Research Unit, Ministry of Integration in Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Integration


Deployment country:

BA - Business Analytics, BA - Predictive Analytics


The Ministry of Integration was established in Baden-Württemberg as a result of a government restructure in May 2011. With some 60 employees, the regional authority is primarily responsible for pursuing an active integration policy to improve the integration of immigrants into society. The main tasks of the new ministry include integration monitoring and research.

Business need:
The Ministry of Integration in Baden-Württemberg needed a continuous supply of reliable data on the integration process for immigrants and their families to help it create policies targeted towards these people’s needs.

IBM® SPSS® Statistics provides advanced statistical analysis capabilities to support integration monitoring and integration research, enabling the ministry to make political decisions based on reliable information.

Handles more than 90 percent of the statistical work in the integration research and monitoring unit without the need for external support. Improves the basis on which political decisions are made by providing differentiated quantitative data about the migration situation. Decreases dependency on external providers of data collection and analysis.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

The Ministry of Integration was established in Baden-Württemberg as a result of a government restructure in May 2011. With some 60 employees, the regional authority is primarily responsible for pursuing an active integration policy to improve the integration of immigrants into society. The main tasks of the new ministry include integration monitoring and research.

Basing successful integration policy on reliable information
Dr. Andreas Wüst, head of the integration monitoring and research unit at the ministry, explains the significance of his department in the political environment: “Integration policy requires reliable and detailed data to provide information about whether and how the integration of immigrants and their families takes place and in which areas there are still possibilities for optimisation. With the establishment of our unit, Baden-Württemberg has put the analytical skills and the tools and methods for deep statistical analysis directly into the hands of a regional authority. The ability to provide solid quantitative information increases the chances that political decisions will be based on scientific research.”

Assessing immigrants’ situations
In a project known as “Living Diversity”, the unit performed the nation’s first comprehensive assessment of the immigrant experience, providing estimates of current levels of integration and exploring expectations for the future, possible barriers to integration in daily life, and the role of politics in the integration process. Once the Ministry of Integration had designed a questionnaire, an external service provider collected the data by conducting telephone interviews with 3,001 registered voters in Baden-Württemberg.

The evaluation of the results was performed by the team supporting Dr. Wüst, using IBM SPSS Statistics software. “I knew SPSS from my many years of research and teaching at the Universities of Mannheim and Heidelberg and had good experiences with this statistics software,” says Dr. Wüst. He cites the reasons for this investment, “We wanted to have direct access to all the data – unlike other authorities, which commission analyses from external suppliers. So we decided to purchase SPSS. The software’s ability to create and re-use standard analyses with the SPSS syntax and the option of using the menu to select more advanced analyses, make the program an appropriate tool for our department.”

Differentiated analysis provides unexpected results
In analysing the survey data from the “Living Diversity” project, the team mainly used multivariate analyses. Some of the results were unexpected, and provided a better foundation on which to base future observations. For example, the analysis showed that respondents in Baden-Württemberg were extremely open to immigrants in general and the attitudes towards cultural diversity in particular were significantly above the national average. Additionally, SPSS made it possible to identify a number of core variables that governed differences in attitude between respondents.

The team used Microsoft Excel to design the graphics for the “Living Diversity” study, because Microsoft Office software is very widely used and understood within the regional government. By using the import and export options available in IBM SPSS Statistics, the export of data to Excel was not a problem. In future projects, the team intends to make greater use of the special graphics functions of the SPSS software.

“The ability to import maps of Baden-Württemberg’s administrative regions, cities and rural districts into SPSS is helpful to us,” explains Dr. Andreas Wüst, with reference to future plans for more vivid representations of the results. “In particular, using maps that provide small-scale differentiation will enable us to gain new perspectives for external communications.”

New methods of statistical integration research
In the field of integration research, the ability to conduct studies independently, using internal resources, is much desired. For studies such as “Living Diversity” and another project on naturalisation that is currently being conducted, the Ministry of Integration gains a considerable advantage from the comprehensive functionality provided by the SPSS software. The ministry’s decision to equip its research unit with custom software and statistical expertise is held in high regard.

“Of course, other federal states also spend much time dealing with integration issues,” says Dr. Wüst, reflecting on his experiences of working with other authorities. “However, as far as I know, they rarely perform their own statistical analyses. Thus, with our department in Baden-Württemberg we are a kind of prototype. And because of the media attention surrounding the results of our first research project, I think it is possible that other authorities may be thinking about using their own analytics resources more intensively with the help of statistics software.”

In addition to its own research, the unit collects and evaluates other externally available research findings on the main issues of migration. It also exchanges information and occasionally forms partnerships with universities and research institutions. In addition, working with external analysis providers can sometimes be advantageous.

Currently various universities and colleges in Germany are researching issues surrounding migration. The IBM SPSS software is also being used for these projects, and two people in the department regularly work with the software.

Integration monitoring based on solid data
One of the ministry’s tasks is the continuous monitoring of integration processes. For example, the development of the educational level, income and housing situation of various population groups over time – even in comparison with other countries – is very interesting for policy-makers. For this purpose, the “Living Diversity” study has been a very important source of information. Thanks to the findings, the ministry will be able to derive specific measures based on solid data. In a few years, there may be a new edition of this study that could demonstrate the changes as a result of the state’s active integration policy.

On the right track to the future
“We made a good choice when we chose to implement IBM SPSS,” Dr. Wüst concludes. “With this software we are able to solve more than 90 percent of our statistical problems immediately. And without statistics software, performing the kind of sophisticated data analysis that will advance our integration policy would be impossible. But the availability of specialised software for statistical analysis also opens up new research and analytical perspectives. And even if we do one day reach the limits of the modules that we are currently using, we can easily expand the existing package by adding additional modules.”

About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organisations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.

Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualise trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organisations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

SPSS Complex Samples, SPSS Statistics Professional, SPSS Statistics Standard

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