New global migration map shows that human development is the driver, not climate

New Delhi: 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.

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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.

Venla Nieva, a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University and lead author of the study, said:

It is not the poorest of the poor who are fleeing environmental disasters or environmental changes. Migration is an adaptation method used by people who have the ability to move.

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.

Decision makers should pay attention to this. Instead of focusing solely on closing borders and combating migration, we should work to support and empower individuals in economically disadvantaged countries.

Read also:India ranks 132 on the Human Development Index, and its contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals are growing

Matti Kumo, associate professor of global water and food issues at Aalto and senior author of the study, said:

This would help reduce the incentives that force people to migrate in search of better opportunities.

The accuracy of the new data set reveals complexities in migration patterns that are hidden when using national data, the researchers said.

Mr. Cuomo stated,

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 country to country.

Unexpected patterns have also emerged in urban-rural migration, dispelling the common belief that urban areas attract people from rural areas, they said.

Mr. Cuomo said

There are a lot of places in Europe for example where the opposite is true.

Read also: Almost the entire world’s population was exposed to global warming from June to September: study

Migration from cities to rural areas has also been observed in parts of Indonesia, Congo, Venezuela and Pakistan.

said Mrs. Neva

In general, immigration is more complex than people think. Our findings contribute to the discussion of where and how migration occurs – it is in fact not a Europe-centric phenomenon, because most migration occurs elsewhere in the world. It doesn’t really match the narrative the public is repeating about climate migration. When you look at the different factors together, the analysis shows that human development factors are more important drivers than climate.

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.

Read also: The study finds that climate change may reduce India’s credit rating

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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