Abstract Controversy surrounds the large increase in international immigration, but little is known about the many drivers of this mobility. While most migration studies have focused on economic motivations, a small literature addresses the impact of human development and, indirectly, capability deprivation. This case study of southern Honduras examines migration patterns between 1988 and 1997 to assess the impacts of human development, non?traditional agricultural exports (NTAX), and other factors. We develop a time?based census analysis replicable in other countries lacking specialized household surveys. Our review of the region?s population census data between 1988 and 1997 suggests net outmigration in 75% of the villages. Econometric treatment of village?level net migration rates before Hurricane Mitch is undertaken. Improved living standards reduced mobility and melons, rather than shrimp mariculture, played a more positive role in labor attraction. Comparisons of census data after and before the mobility pattern suggest improvements in education, yet greater gender divisions, in some areas that by implication undertook international migration.
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