Climate shocks and the timing of migration from Mexico

Raphael J. Nawrotzki, Jack DeWaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 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

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


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


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