Migration influenced by environmental change in Africa: A systematic review of empirical evidence

Borderon M, Sakdapolrak P, Muttarak R ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0627-4451, Kebede E, Pagogna R, & Sporer E (2019). Migration influenced by environmental change in Africa: A systematic review of empirical evidence. Demographic Research 41 (18): 491-544. DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2019.41.18.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND
Despite an increase in scholarly and policy interest regarding the impacts of
environmental change on migration, empirical knowledge in the field remains varied,
patchy, and limited. Generalised discourse on environmental migration frequently
oversimplifies the complex channels through which environmental change influences
the migration process.
OBJECTIVE
This paper aims to systematise the existing empirical evidence on migration influenced
by environmental change with a focus on Africa, the continent most vulnerable to
climate change.
METHODS We select 53 qualitative and quantitative studies on the influence of environmental
change on migration from the comprehensive Climig database and systematically
analyse the literature considering the multidimensional drivers of migration.
RESULTS
Environmental change influences migration in Africa in an indirect way by affecting
other drivers of migration, including sociodemographic, economic, and political factors.
How and in what direction environmental change influences migration depends on
socioeconomic and geographical contexts, demographic characteristics, and the type
and duration of migration.
CONCLUSIONS
The contextually contingent nature of migration–environment relationships prevents us
from drawing a universal conclusion, whether environmental change will increase or
suppress migration in Africa. However, this study unravels the complex interactions
between the nature and duration of the environmental pressure, the livelihood of the
populations, the role of kinship ties and the role of demographic differentials on
migration response.
CONTRIBUTION
The review provides an initial systematic and comprehensive summary of empirical
evidence on the environmental drivers of migration in Africa. It also discusses the
implications of the scale, materials, and methods used in the 53 studies.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2019 08:19
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/16052

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