Climate shocks and the timing of migration from Mexico

Raphael J. Nawrotzki, Jack DeWaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although evidence is increasing that climate shocks influence human migration, it is unclear exactly when people migrate after a climate shock. A climate shock might be followed by an immediate migration response. Alternatively, migration, as an adaptive strategy of last resort, might be delayed and employed only after available in situ (in-place) adaptive strategies are exhausted. In this paper, we explore the temporally lagged association between a climate shock and future migration. Using multilevel event-history models, we analyze the risk of Mexico-US migration over a seven-year period after a climate shock. Consistent with a delayed response pattern, we find that the risk of migration is low immediately after a climate shock and increases as households pursue and cycle through in situ adaptive strategies available to them. However, about 3 years after the climate shock, the risk of migration decreases, suggesting that households are eventually successful in adapting in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-100
Number of pages29
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by NIH center Grants #R24 HD041023 awarded to the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota and #R24 HD066613 awarded to the Colorado Population Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder by 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). We thank Rachel Magennis for her careful editing and helpful suggestions. We express our gratitude to the POEN editor and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
The expert team is jointly sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Climatology (CCl), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) project on Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR), and the Joint WMO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM).

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


  • Adaptation
  • Climate
  • Migration
  • Response pattern
  • Rural Mexico
  • Timing


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