Domestic and International Climate Migration from Rural Mexico

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Abstract

Evidence is increasing that climate change and variability may influence human migration patterns. However, there is less agreement regarding the type of migration streams most strongly impacted. This study tests whether climate change more strongly impacted international compared to domestic migration from rural Mexico during 1986–99. We employ eight temperature and precipitation-based climate change indices linked to detailed migration histories obtained from the Mexican Migration Project. Results from multilevel discrete-time event-history models challenge the assumption that climate-related migration will be predominantly short distance and domestic, but instead show that climate change more strongly impacted international moves from rural Mexico. The stronger climate impact on international migration may be explained by the self-insurance function of international migration, the presence of strong migrant networks, and climate-related changes in wage difference. While a warming in temperature increased international outmigration, higher levels of precipitation declined the odds of an international move.

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Nawrotzki, R. J., Runfola, D. M., Hunter, L. M., & Riosmena, F. (2016). Domestic and International Climate Migration from Rural Mexico. Human Ecology, 44(6), 687–699. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-016-9859-0

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