The article is pre-published and awaiting peer-review.
Abstract Survey data on migration aspirations, plans and intentions is important for understanding the drivers and dynamics of migration. Such data has been collected since the 1960s but has expanded massively in recent decades. This paper provides the first comprehensive overview of existing survey data in an inventory of 212 surveys with recorded metadata on geographic and temporal coverage, survey population, sample size, and other characteristics. ‘A survey’ is not always a clear-cut unit of analysis, but we adopted procedures that enable systematic comparisons, and identified surveys through systematic searches and follow-up investigation. The paper has three objectives. First, it facilitates reuse of survey data and secondary analysis, albeit with limitations in data access, which we document. Second, it helps consolidate a sprawling field and thereby contribute to methodological and theoretical strengthening. Third, it informs debates on the ethics, politics and biases of data collection by documenting broad patterns in the body of knowledge. The inventory of survey data on migration aspirations and related concepts gives migration researchers a new tool for locating existing data and strengthening the foundations for collecting new data.