The ICOW Identity Claims Data Set

The identity claims data set follows the general guidelines on the ICOW home page.

An identity claim is defined as explicit contention between two or more nation-states over the status of an ethnic group that is located in both states. More specifically, official government representatives of the challenger state (i.e., individuals who are authorized to make or state foreign policy positions for their government) must make explicit claims or demands regarding the treatment or status of their ethnic kin in the target state.

Please note that the ICOW Project and its directors do not take or endorse official positions on any identity claims. Our goal is to identify cases where nation-states have disagreed over specific issues in the modern era, as well as measuring what made those issues valuable to them and studying how they chose to manage or settle those issues. Inclusion/exclusion of specific cases, and coding of details related to those cases, follows strict guidelines presented in the project's coding manuals (which are available below).

Measuring Claim Salience

Much like territorial, river, and maritime claims, the salience of identity claims is measured by a 0-12 index, which includes up to six points each for the claim's challenger and target states (one point each for six indicators of salience). The salience of a claim is based on the relationship between the shared ethnic group that is the subject of the claim and each of the two claimant countries:

Project Participants

Current Status

Data collection and coding remains underway. More details and summary statistics will be provided here once the data set is complete.

Beginning in 2019, we have started publishing quarterly reviews of events occurring in any of the four current ICOW issue types -- territorial, river, maritime, or identity claims -- during three-month periods. These reviews describe such events as the beginning of new claims, the occurrence of military or other provocations related to the issue, and attempts to manage or settle the issues peacefully. Besides posting each quarterly review at the above link, we also offer a DuckDuckGo custom search that allows users to search for reviews that contain such terms as names of territories, countries, or leaders. (For now, this is limited to ICOW's quarterly reviews of news over territorial, river, maritime, or identity claims, covering events since the beginning of 2019. In the future, we plan to expand this search to include access to summary web pages for each of the more than 1200 claims identified by the ICOW project, which will be created as part of the next external grant that the ICOW project receives.)

Data Set References

The following article was the first to discuss the identity claims data set, although the data set was not yet completed:

We have presented a number of papers using project data, which will soon be listed here:

Download the Coding Manuals and Data

All ICOW data sets may be downloaded freely, but we request several professional courtesies from users:

Coding Manuals

The following links provide access to the coding manuals and other useful information:


Please note that this, like all ICOW data sets, uses the list of country codes in the COW interstate system. Please see that list for help in identifying which countries were involved in the events included in this data set, or for any questions about when each country was considered a sovereign, recognized state.

Contact Information

The ICOW Identity Claims data set is collected by a four-university team, and is maintained by Paul Hensel at the University of North Texas. Please contact him with any questions about the data set:
Last updated: 17 November 2019
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