The Return Index is a tool designed to measure the severity of conditions in locations of return. It provides data on 16 different indicators related to 1) livelihoods and basic services, and 2) safety perceptions and social cohesion. For each assessed location of return, the severity score is calculated. The scores range from 0 (all essential conditions for return are met) to 100 (no essential conditions for return are met). Higher scores denote more severe living conditions for returnees. The scores are grouped into three categories of severity: low, medium and high (which also includes very high). Please refer to Round 1 and Round 3 reports for more details on the methodology.

Return Index Datasets

Return Index Dataset 10
Oct 2020

Return Index Dataset 9
Jun 2020

Return Index Dataset 8
Feb 2020

Return Index Dataset 7
Jan 2020

Return Index Dataset 6
Nov 2019

Return Index Dataset 5
Oct 2019

Return Index Dataset 4
Jul 2019

Return Index Dataset 3
Apr 2019

METHODOLOGICAL OVERVIEW - IRAQ

This document presents a short overview of the methodology and guiding principles of the Return Index. Further details on how the Return Index was constructed in Iraq by delving into its most important building blocks, as well as discussing lessons learned during the design and implementation process, are available in the report “Building Blocks of the Return Index in Iraq”.


BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE RETURN INDEX IN IRAQ

This report aims to provide general insights on how the Return Index was constructed in Iraq by delving into its most important building blocks, as well as discussing lessons learned during the design and implementation process. The report covers two aspects: (a) the indicator framework design with statistical modelling, and (b) the data analysis and dissemination. Both the building blocks and lessons learned can be used as blueprints to replicate the Return Index in other countries and displacement crises.


As more people return to their places of origin than remain displaced in Iraq, it is necessary to know the severity of conditions in the locations to which they are returning, how this changes over time, and finally, which locations have limited returns and why, to shape strategies for intervention and resource allocation.

While population and location figures highlight the significant number of people in Iraq who may be in need of assistance upon return, they do not shed light on what type of assistance is needed, who needs it, and where, to prevent secondary displacement or prolonged residence in poor physical and/or social conditions.

Thus, a more precise tool is needed to understand the ‘quality of returns’ in Iraq and to this end IOM DTM, the Returns Working Group, and Social Inquiry developed the Return Index. This tool serves as a means of measuring severity of conditions in areas of return to allow partners to better strategize for resources and operations in vulnerable areas or to mitigate risks of push/pull factors for a more specific set of coherent interventions that bridge humanitarian, recovery, and stabilisation needs.

To measure the severity of conditions in each location of return, the Return Index is based on 16 indicators grouped into two scales:
(i) livelihoods and basic services,
(ii) social cohesion and safety perceptions.

A regression model is used to assess the impact of each of the indicators in facilitating or preventing returns and to calculate scores for two scales. For example, the model tests how much less likely a location where no agricultural activities have recovered is to have returns compared to a location where these activities have recovered.

To compute an overall severity index, the scores of the two scales are combined. The index ranges from 0 (all essential conditions for return are met) to 100 (no essential conditions for return are met). Higher scores denote more severe living conditions for returnees. The scores of the severity index can be grouped into three categories: ‘low’ severity conditions, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ (which also includes the identified ‘very high’ locations).

Response options of 16 indicators also can be grouped into three categories of severity: 'low', 'medium' and 'high'.


SCALE 1:
LIVELIHOODS AND BASIC SERVICES
CATEGORY
OF SEVERITY
Recovery of agriculture
Most or all agricultural and/or livestock activities are taking place as before Low
Some of the agricultural and/or livestock activities are taking place as before Medium
None of the agricultural and/or livestock activities are taking place as before High
Location does not have agricultural land Not applicable
Recovery of businesses
Most or all businesses are open Low
Some businesses are open Medium
None of the businesses are open High
Not applicable, there is no business in location Not applicable
Employment access
Most or all residents can find employment Low
Around half the residents can find employment Low
Less than half the residents can find employment Medium
None of the residents can find employment High
Access to markets for basic items and food
It is easy to access basic items and food Low
It is difficult to access basic items and food Medium
It is not possible to access basic items and food High
Provision of government services
Most or all government services are being provided Low
Some of the services are being provided, but not all Medium
None of the government services are provided High
Not applicable, there are no government services in location Not applicable
Electricity sufficiency
Most or all residents have enough electricity Low
Only some of the residents have enough electricity while others do not Medium
None of the residents have enough electricity High
Water sufficiency
Most or all residents have enough water Low
Only some of the residents have enough water while others do not Medium
None of the residents have enough water High
Residential destruction
More than half the houses are destroyed High
About half the houses are destroyed Medium
Less than half the houses are destroyed Medium
None of the houses are destroyed (they all have been reconstructed) Low
Housing reconstruction status
None High
Yes, many Low
Yes, a few Medium
Not applicable (no destruction) Not applicable
Access to primary school
Most or all can access schooling Low
Only some of the children can access schooling while others cannot Medium
None of the children can access schooling High
Access to health center
Most or all can access primary health care Low
Only some of the children can access primary health care while others cannot Medium
None of the children can access primary health care High



SCALE 2:
SAFETY AND SOCIAL COHESION
CATEGORY
OF SEVERITY
Concerns_UXOs
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Concerns_security forces or armed groups
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Concerns_ISIL attacks
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Concerns_harassment at checkpoints
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Concerns_revenge acts
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Concerns_ethno-religious or tribal tensions
Very concerned High
Somewhat concerned Medium
Not concerned Low
Not applicable, there is only one tribe/ethno-religious group Low
Multiple or no security actors
0 High
1 Low
2 Low
3 Low
4 High
5 High
6 High
Presence of other security actors
Yes Medium
No Low
Movement restriction
The restrictions have a big impact High
The restrictions have a little impact Medium
The restrictions have no impact Low
Not applicable, there are no restrictions Low
Daily public life
Streets are busy with residents carrying out daily activities and it feels calm Low
Streets are busy with residents carrying out daily activities but it feels tense Medium
Residents leave their homes only when they have to and streets are sparsely populated High
Community reconciliation
Reconciliation is needed AND NOT taking place High
Reconciliation is needed and taking place / Reconciliation is not needed Low
Illegal occupation of private residences
No Low
Yes, many High
Yes, few Medium
I don’t want to answer Medium
Access to offices for civil justice matters
Yes Low
No High
Blocked returns
None Low
Yes, many High
Yes, few Medium
I don’t want to answer Medium