Environmental migration in Mexico

Authored by: Daniel H. Simon

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Displacement and Migration

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194465
eBook ISBN: 9781315638843
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315638843-20

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Abstract

While there is considerable research on the socioeconomic context of Mexican migration, much less is known about the environmental correlates. This is a large oversight given the historical nature of migration in Mexico and the expected impacts of climate changes such as precipitation declines and temperature increases. This chapter surveys the state of knowledge regarding environmental migration in, and from, Mexico. Overall, the bulk of research has focused on migration from rural communities, a logical starting point given Mexico’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture. These studies demonstrate that international migration is associated with rainfall deficits and temperature increases, especially from places with longstanding migration networks and in historically dry climates. Further, migration from these drought-prone areas has been highest 2–3 years following a climate shock, suggesting that migration is a short-term adaptation to environmental stress. Previous work has also illustrated how social networks might suppress, rather than amplify, the impacts of climate change on migration. Finally, although there is limited research on climate-related internal migration in Mexico, findings indicate that rainfall deficits are associated with internal movement, particularly from rural to urban areas. More research is needed to fully explore these trends, especially regarding more recent migration.

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