The link between disaster displacement and migration intentions

This report uses rich global survey data from the Gallup World Poll to analyse the relationship between environmental conditions, displacement and migration. An instrumental variable model is used to link geocoded data on environmental disasters to individual anticipation of displacement and migration aspirations. The report confirms the established finding that the connections between environmental factors and human mobility patterns at various spatial scales are complex and context specific. In particular, the report suggests that in less-developed regions an expectation of higher risks of future environmental disasters leads to a lower individual desire to migrate internationally. By contrast, in least-developed regions the anticipation of higher risks of environmental disasters induces those individuals who wish to migrate internationally to increase their efforts to plan for international migration. These results point to causal relationships between environmental factors and migration behaviour in countries with lower levels of development. They add further nuanced findings to discussions on climate change exposure, vulnerability and ‘environmental immobility’ and on climate-induced migration and displacement of different types and at various spatial scales.

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