17 Dec Variation by Geographic Scale in the Migration-Environment Association: Evidence from Rural South Africa
Mac Laurin, G.
Variation by Geographic Scale in the Migration-Environment Association: Evidence from Rural South Africa
University of Colorado
Scholarly understanding of human migration’s environmental dimensions has greatly advanced in the past several years, motivated in large part by public and policy dialogue around “climate migrants.” The research presented here advances current demographic scholarship both through substantive interpretations, conclusions and its methodological approach. We examine temporary, cyclical rural South African outmigration as related to household-level availability of proximate natural resources. Such ‘natural capital’ is central to livelihoods in the region, both for sustenance and as fodder for market-bound products. The results demonstrate the association between environmental factors and outmigration, in general positive: household with higher levels of proximate natural capital are more likel y to engage in temporary migration. Yet, this association is highly localized, varying from strongly positive in some villages to strongly negative in others. We explore the socio-demographic factors underlying this “geographic scale sensitivity”. The cross-scale methodologies applied here offer nuance unavailable within more commonly used global regression models, although also introducing complexity that complicates story-telling and inhibits generalizability.
Hunter, L. M., et al. (2012). Variation by Geographic Scale in the Migration-Environment Association: Evidence from Rural South Africa W. Paper. University of Colorado Boulder, USA