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Do Rainfall Deficits Predict U.S.-Bound Migration from Rural Mexico? Evidence from the Mexican Census

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  • Raphael Nawrotzki

    ()

  • Fernando Riosmena
  • Lori Hunter

Abstract

Environmental and climatic changes have shaped human mobility for thousands of years and research on the migration-environment connection has proliferated in the past several years. Even so, little work has focused on Latin America or on international movement. Given rural Mexico’s dependency on primary sector activities involving various natural resources, and the existence of well-established transnational migrant networks, we investigate the association between rainfall patterns and U.S.-bound migration from rural locales, a topic of increasing policy relevance. The new economics of labor migration theory provides background, positing that migration represents a household-level risk management strategy. We use data from the year 2000 Mexican census for rural localities and socioeconomic and state-level precipitation data provided by the Mexican National Institute for Statistics and Geography. Multilevel models assess the impact of rainfall change on household-level international out-migration while controlling for relevant sociodemographic and economic factors. A decrease in precipitation is significantly associated with U.S.-bound migration, but only for dry Mexican states. This finding suggests that programs and policies aimed at reducing Mexico-U.S. migration should seek to diminish the climate/weather vulnerability of rural Mexican households, for example by supporting sustainable irrigation systems and subsidizing drought-resistant crops. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Nawrotzki & Fernando Riosmena & Lori Hunter, 2013. "Do Rainfall Deficits Predict U.S.-Bound Migration from Rural Mexico? Evidence from the Mexican Census," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(1), pages 129-158, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:32:y:2013:i:1:p:129-158
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-012-9251-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle CHORT & Maëlys DE LA RUPELLE, 2019. "Managing the Impact of Climate on Migration: Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2018-2019_8, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Jun 2019.
    2. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 7417, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys, 2017. "Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Migration: Evidence from Mexico," GLO Discussion Paper Series 78, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. repec:kap:poprpr:v:37:y:2018:i:6:d:10.1007_s11113-018-9493-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:bla:popdev:v:44:y:2018:i:3:p:455-488 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Isabelle Chort & Maëlys Rupelle, 2016. "Determinants of Mexico-U.S. Outward and Return Migration Flows: A State-Level Panel Data Analysis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1453-1476, October.
    7. Erin Hamilton & Robin Savinar, 2015. "Two Sources of Error in Data on Migration From Mexico to the United States in Mexican Household-Based Surveys," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1345-1355, August.
    8. Vally Koubi & Sebastian Stoll & Gabriele Spilker, 2016. "Perceptions of environmental change and migration decisions," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 439-451, October.
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:187-196 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys, 2019. "Managing the Impact of Climate on Migration: Evidence from Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 12227, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Steven RUGGLES & Robert McCAA & Matthew SOBEK & Lara CLEVELAND, 2015. "The IPUMS Collaboration : Integratin and Disseminating the World’s Population Microdata," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 203-216, June.

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