03 Dec Facing Climate Change: What Drives Internal Migration Decisions in the Karst Rocky Regions of Southwest China
Facing Climate Change: What Drives Internal Migration Decisions in the Karst Rocky Regions of Southwest China
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Global climate change and its influence on human migration have caused heated debates. There is no consensus about the role of environmental change in shaping migration decisions. To amass more evidence and develop a deeper understanding of the relations between the environment and migration, this paper seeks to evaluate the importance of various drivers (economic, social, political, demographic, and environmental drivers) and determine the internal mechanism in the decision process. The Likert scale was used as the tool for measuring each respondent’s perception of the drivers, and the within-group interrater agreement index was used to express the survey data and to select the actual driving forces. As a result, economic, social, and political factors were strong forces that promoted migration directly, while demographic and environmental factors were moderate or weak forces that promoted migration indirectly. The migrants’ core consideration was to effectively reduce family risks and sustain their livelihoods by moving to a destination to improve their household income, keep their original social networks, and obtain housing allowances from the local government. Land degradation and meteorological disasters were rooted in the vulnerability and risks of a family, and these factors indirectly influenced the people’s decisions by affecting the socioeconomic drivers. We concluded that isolating the environmental drivers from other drivers underlying migration decisions is difficult. Additionally, the internal mechanism indicated that both environmental and non-environmental factors all have an impact on choice in different ways. Future policies should be aimed at increasing sustainable livelihoods and the social resilience of migrant families at a personal level, balancing the development levels of the original locations and destinations, and strengthening international cooperation to reduce the negative effects of climate change at the regional level.
Shi, G., Lyu, Q., Shangguan, Z., & Jiang, T. (2019). Facing Climate Change: What Drives Internal Migration Decisions in the Karst Rocky Regions of Southwest China. Sustainability, 11(7), 2142.