screenshot from journal Demographic Research

Demystify Environmental Migration

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Shuai Zhou and Guangqing Chi published a review paper on the environmental migration literature to demystify environmental migration in Demographic Research.

Environmental migration increasingly attracts media attention. It may sound like migration is a consequence of environmental change, but it is not widely known when, how, and to what extent environmental change leads to migration. This lack of understanding is largely due to the complexity of environmental migration—different environmental factors may lead to diverse migration patterns across populations, locations, and temporal periods.

In the newly published article, “How Do Environmental Stressors Influence Migration? A Meta-regression Analysis of the Environmental Migration Literature,” Zhou and Chi demystify climate migration through a systematic review of existing studies. They found that: (1) environmental change can trigger migration; but (2) the effects are often minor and (3) context-dependent; and (4) people in developing countries and rural places are more likely to migrate because of their limited capacity to mitigate environmental impacts. The review paper contributes to migration studies by synthesizing and validating the environment–migration relationship and enhancing our understanding of how and under what circumstances environmental stressors may or may not affect migration.