Climate-induced cross-border migration and change in demographic structure

Joyce Chen, Valerie Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


As climate change threatens livelihoods in Bangladesh, migration to neighboring countries in South Asia may accelerate. We use multiple types of data to predict how changes in the environment affect cross-border migration. Nationally representative migration data are combined with remote-sensing measures of flooding and rainfall and in situ measures of monsoon onset, temperature, radiation, and soil salinity to characterize environmental migration patterns. We further evaluate which groups are more susceptible to cross-border migration to examine how environmental factors shape the demographic composition of the country. We find migration to neighboring countries declines with short-term, adverse weather but increases with soil salinity. The soil salinity effect remains particularly persistent among poorer households. Investments targeting risks faced by the poor and non-poor remain crucial, as retention of the earnings skills, and experience of the latter enhances national resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-125
Number of pages28
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Bangladesh
  • Climate change
  • Cross-border migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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