Rainfall Patterns and U.S. Migration from Rural Mexico
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
© 2013 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved.
International Migration Review
Volume 47, Issue 4, pages 874–909, December 2013
How to Cite
Hunter, L. M., Murray, S. and Riosmena, F. (2013), Rainfall Patterns and U.S. Migration from Rural Mexico. International Migration Review, 47: 874–909. doi: 10.1111/imre.12051
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
In many rural regions of developing countries, natural resource dependency means changes in climate patterns hold tremendous potential to impact livelihoods. When environmentally-based livelihood options are constrained, migration can become an important adaptive strategy. Using data from the Mexican Migration Project, we model U.S. emigration from rural communities as related to community, household and climate factors. The results suggest that households subjected to very recent drought conditions are less likely to send a U.S. migrant, but in communities with drought two years prior and with strong migration histories, emigration is much more likely. In regions lacking such social networks, rainfall deficits actually reduce migration propensities, perhaps reflecting constraints in the ability to engage in migration as a coping strategy. Policy implications emphasize diversification of rural Mexican livelihoods in the face of contemporary climate change.