Climate, migration, and the local food security context: introducing Terra Populus

Raphael J. Nawrotzki, Allison M. Schlak, Tracy A Kugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Studies investigating the connection between environmental factors and migration are difficult to execute because they require the integration of microdata and spatial information. In this article, we introduce the novel, publically available data extraction system Terra Populus (TerraPop), which was designed to facilitate population–environment studies. We showcase the use of TerraPop by exploring variations in the climate–migration association in Burkina Faso and Senegal based on differences in the local food security context. Food security was approximated using anthropometric indicators of child stunting and wasting derived from Demographic and Health Surveys and linked to the TerraPop extract of climate and migration information. We find that an increase in heat waves was associated with a decrease in international migration from Burkina Faso, while excessive precipitation increased international moves from Senegal. Significant interactions reveal that the adverse effects of heat waves and droughts are strongly amplified in highly food insecure Senegalese departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-184
Number of pages21
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center (#R24 HD041023), funded through grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In addition, this work received support from the National Science Foundation funded Terra Populus project (NSF Award ACI-0940818). The authors wish to acknowledge the statistical offices that provided the underlying data making this research possible: National Institute of Statistics and Demography, Burkina Faso, and National Agency of Statistics and Demography, Senegal. We express our gratitude to Joshua Donato and David Haynes for help with the construction of the spatial variables. Special thanks to the journal editor and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Burkina Faso
  • Climate
  • Demographic and Health Survey (DHS)
  • Environment
  • Food security
  • International migration
  • Senegal
  • Terra Populus


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