Access to Durable Solutions among IDPs in Iraq


May 17 2023 Print


Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq is a unique study that follows, through six rounds of data collection, Iraqi households who were internally displaced between January 2014 and December 2015 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The study is based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC-2010) Framework on Durable Solutions, which lays the cornerstone for specifying how governments, humanitarian practitioners, and academics alike attempt to measure IDPs’ advancement toward durable solutions. Despite the promise that the Framework offers for understanding how IDPs engineer solutions to displacement, translating its premises and criteria into measurable indicators and observable outcomes has posed a challenge due to the vulnerability and mobility of displaced populations.


Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq is the first study of its kind that takes up this task in order to measure the progressive resolution of displacement in practice. The study aims to shed light on how evolving conditions of prolonged displacement change the lives of IDPs over time, and how IDPs themselves adapt and engineer solutions to displacement-related challenges.

A joint project between the International Organization for Migration in Iraq and Georgetown University, the study not only affirms that ending displacement is a process that happens over time, but more importantly, it provides evidence for how, when, and according to whom IDP households resolve the challenges of their displacement.

Three characteristics of the design of Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq make the study stand out:

  1. It is a panel study. Panel studies, which track the same participants over time, offer the unique chance to observe the evolution of how IDP households experience displacement past the initial displacement phase. Five rounds of data have been collected since 2016, and a sixth round is underway in 2021. Of the 3,852 IDP households who enrolled in the study in 2016, 3,463 (89%) remained in the study through Round 5 (2019-2020).
  2. It is a mixed-methods study. The study features two complementary components. A quantitative survey includes indicators asked in each round to measure progress toward a durable solution. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with a subset of IDP households and other displacement-affected populations provide more nuanced and personal dimensions of the displacement experience and insight into why and how IDP households make the decisions they do.
  3. It exclusively focuses on the non-camp population of IDPs. Non-camp populations are an often-ignored segment of IDP populations because they are harder to locate.

For more than four decades, Iraq has witnessed successive waves of displacement related to security threats, but the ISIL-related displacement crisis between 2014 and 2017 was unprecedented. Nearly six million Iraqis were displaced in this wave, representing 16% of the entire population of the country. This is more than the combined total of those displaced during the displacement waves in the Kurdish region in the 1970s and 1980s linked to ethnic persecution; the 2003 U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq; and the ensuing wake of instability and internal conflict between 2006 and 2013. At the end of 2017, one in 10 Iraqis was an IDP.

The magnitude of the ISIL-related displacement crisis, the extensive history of displacement in Iraq, and IOM’s presence in the country were important factors that made Iraq a key case study. The study and its publications illuminate not only what the durable solutions framework can say about Iraq, but also what displacement in Iraq can say about the durable solutions framework.


To date, the study’s findings have been documented in more than a dozen reports and other articles. These findings answer or invite further research on some of the key challenges confronting those responding to or studying displacement:

  • Are IDPs reaching durable or temporary solutions, and what is the difference?
  • Is displacement an arrival point or a process?
  • What factors motivate IDPs to move more than once in displacement?
  • How do different populations within the IDP community—for example, female-headed households or children—experience displacement?
  • What informs IDPs’ decisions as they adjudicate between factors motivating them to stay in their host communities or return home?

Please visit the IOM Iraq Recovery website to find further details and information.


You can click here to download Quantitative Methodology Report


The panel dataset contains all released questions for Rounds 1 through 5 merged by household ID into one dataset. Users should consult the Quantitative Methodology Report to learn more about the construction of this dataset.

Click here to download PanelDataset.csv


Georgetown University and the International Organization for Migration (2021). Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq, 2016-2020 (IOM website version) [PANELFILE dataset]. Retrieved from


“All views and perspectives based on data from Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq do not reflect the positions of IOM or Georgetown University but of the authors.”


Click here to download Round 1 Codebook

Click here to download Round 2 Codebook

Click here to download Round 3 Codebook

Click here to download Round 4 Codebook

Click here to download Round 5 Codebook