New global migration map shows human development is the driver, not climate
Global migration patterns are more strongly linked to social and economic factors, not climate change as the public generally believes, according to new research published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
By providing a new, high-resolution dataset on net migration over the past two decades (2000-2019), the study said it made it possible to answer questions that cannot be addressed with coarser data, such as national averages. The study included researchers from Aalto University, Finland, and the University of Bologna, Italy.
The team combined birth and death rates with overall population growth to estimate net migration. The role of socio-economics and climate is integrated through the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Drought Index.
High levels of migration or out-migration have been found in regions intermediate in both the HDI and drought, such as the regions of Central America, northeastern Brazil, central Africa, and southeast Asia.
“It is not the poorest of the poor who are fleeing environmental disasters or environmental changes. Migration is an adaptation method used by people with the ability to move, said Venla Nieva, a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University and lead author of the study.
By the same logic, regions with a high HDI were seen as experiencing positive net migration, or internal migration, regardless of their climatic conditions.
For example, the Arabian Peninsula, North America, Australia and the northern Mediterranean regions were net recipients despite their drought, the study said.
He added: “Decision makers must pay attention to this matter. Instead of focusing solely on closing borders and combating migration, we should work to support and empower individuals in economically disadvantaged countries.
“This will help reduce the incentives that force people to migrate in search of better opportunities,” said Matti Kumo, associate professor of global water and food issues at Aalto and senior author of the study.
The accuracy of the new data set reveals complexities in migration patterns that are hidden when using national data, the researchers said.
In France and Italy, for example, there are interesting differences between North and South, and in Spain, there is a difference between East and West. “There are many patterns that national experts can look at, and of course the underlying causes may vary from state to state,” Cuomo said.
Unexpected patterns have also emerged in urban-rural migration, dispelling the common belief that urban areas attract people from rural areas, they said.
“There are many places in Europe, for example, where the opposite is true,” Cuomo said.
Migration from cities to rural areas has also been observed in parts of Indonesia, Congo, Venezuela and Pakistan.
“In general, immigration is more complex than people tend to think,” Neiva said. “Our findings contribute to the discussion of where and how migration occurs – it is not actually a Europe-centric phenomenon, because most migration occurs elsewhere in the world.” “The public is about climate migration,” Neiva said.
“When you look at the different factors together, the analysis shows that human development factors are more important drivers than climate,” Neiva said.
They said the new dataset, which the researchers produced by starting with sub-national death and birth ratios and downsampling them to a 10-kilometre resolution, is publicly available and can be easily explored through an interactive online map.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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