Environmental Dimensions of Migration


Journal Article


Lori M. Hunter
Jessie K. Luna
Rachel M. Norton


Environmental Dimensions of Migration




Annual Review of Sociology

Vol (No), pp

41(1), 377-397


Research on the environmental dimensions of human migration has made important strides in recent years. However, findings have been spread across multiple disciplines with wide-ranging methodologies and limited theoretical development. This article reviews key findings of the field and identifies future directions for sociological research. We contend that the field has moved beyond linear environmental “push” theories toward a greater integration of context, including micro-level, meso-level, and macro-level interactions. We highlight findings that migration is often a household strategy to diversify risk (new economics of labor migration theory), interacting with household composition; individual characteristics; social networks; and historical, political, and economic contexts. We highlight promising developments in the field, including the recognition that migration is a long-standing form of environmental adaptation and yet only one among many forms of adaptation. Finally, we argue that sociologists could contribute significantly to migration–environment inquiry through attention to issues of inequality, perceptions, and agency vis-à-vis structure.


Hunter, L. M., Luna, J. K., & Norton, R. M. (2015). Environmental Dimensions of Migration. Annual Review of Sociology, 41(1), 377-397. URL : http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-soc-073014-112223