How Do Changing Environmental Factors Interact With Individual Factors to Influence Migration Behavior in Environmentally Precarious Communities? Investigating Out-Migration From 1981–2009 in Rural Mali

Kathryn Grace , University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Andrew Verdin, Institute of Social Research and Data Innovation, University of Minnesota
Véronique Hertrich, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Subsistence farmers in Sahelian Africa are highly vulnerable to the environmental effects associated with climate change. In response to climate variability and subsequently agricultural insecurity, permanent or temporary out-migration can provide an effective mitigation strategy. While climate-migration literature among rural farming communities is growing, questions remain about which climate processes drive individual- or family-level migration decisions. To this end, we examine individual- and community-level responses using detailed migration histories of 3,150 individuals in two villages in Mali. We focus our attention on features of each potential migrant – including the migration histories of each individual. We leverage fine-scale climate data to produce indices of precipitation, temperature, and drought. The migration data are adequately detailed to enable analysis of how within season climate variability, e.g. heatwaves and drought, influence individual out-migration decisions.

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 Presented in Session 6. Climate Change and Migration