Impacts of Climate Change on Migration

Presentation author(s)

Lan Vy Mai’22

Majors: Quantitative Economics; Anthropology

Deepakshi Bhardwaj’22

Majors: International Relations; Business Economics


Climate change means “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” As climate change keeps on gaining traction, we will witness a larger frequency of extreme weather events or disasters. A disaster is a “serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses, and impacts.’’ The most pressing issue for leaders worldwide is that of mass migration that will be a result of climate change. In 2018, the World Bank estimated that three regions (Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia) will generate 143 million more climate migrants by 2050.

Our work explores the relationship between climate change and internal displacement, using panel data of 117 countries for the period of 2011 to 2019. Employing random-effects model, this paper examines the overall impact of climate change, proxied by extreme weather events on internal migration using a unique dataset. The independent variables are the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) constructed by the Germanwatch, and the exposure rate component of the World Risk Index constructed by Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft. Other control variables from the World Bank include the country’s land area, employment in agriculture as a percentage of total employment, GDP per capita, forest area as a percentage of land area, population density, and agricultural area. The Climate Risk Index is negatively associated with the internal displacement rate. In contrast, the exposure rate to weather-related events is positively correlated with the internal displacement rate.


Diep Phan

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