Climate Change as Migration Driver: Evidence from Rural and Urban Areas in Mexico

Raphael Nawrotzki, University of Minnesota
Lori M. Hunter, University of Colorado, Boulder

While most prior studies on the climate-migration association have used relatively coarse measures of rainfall and drought, this study employs 17 climate change indices, developed by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) to capture nuanced changes in climatic extremes. Cokriging as a method of spatial interpolation was employed to obtain climate change index values for 111 Mexican municipalities, for which detailed migration histories are available from the Mexican Migration Project. Multi-level event history models are employed to estimate the impact of climate change on international migration patterns. Households are followed across a 14-year study period from 1986 to 1999. The results show that climate change stronger impacts international migration from rural compared to urban areas. Generally, an increase in temperature (warming) and a reduction in precipitation increase the probability of an international move, providing evidence that climate change will likely drive out-migration during the 21st century.

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Presented in Session 31: Environmental Migration