Climate migration is more complex than it seems

Written by
Hannah Reynolds, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment
Dec. 8, 2022

A new study published in the journal iScience shows that climate migration may be more complex than it seems. The narrative of people moving abroad after a major drought or storm is too simplistic and does not account for economic and other social vulnerabilities, the researches found. These social vulnerabilities, such as poverty, food insecurity, pandemic, and unemployment,  were found to be key factors in determining whether farmers used migration as a tool to overcome difficult circumstances related to climate impacts and whether migration helped in dealing with the events.

The researchers studied migration patterns among farmers in Mexico, Madagascar and Nepal. 

“The main take-away from comparing three different countries is the importance of context," said Filiz Garip, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and an author of the study. "The impact of climate change on migration will not be uniform around the globe; it will depend on the vulnerabilities and available resources in each setting." 

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