Climate variations are occurring. Global temperatures are increasing, erratic precipitation patterns are becoming the norm, and extreme climatic events are becoming more severe and frequent. These environmental changes are having deleterious effects on the lives and livelihoods of poor rural farmers globally who depend on rain-fed agriculture for their income, for their health and nutritional status, and for their subsistence. In the country of Ethiopia, adaptation strategies such as small-scale irrigation, farm mechanization, and the use of more water-efficient crops have been implemented at the household level. Nationally however, there are large gaps in infrastructure development, risk reduction and coping strategies, and political will. Given these constraints, migration, specifically rural-to-urban migration is increasingly used as a last-resort coping strategy for the poorest of these subsistence-farming families. Literature review provides evidence that short-term population migration is a common adaptation or coping strategy to environmental stressors. Most population migration is short-term and used to diversify household livelihoods and income, especially when affected by environmental extremes. Eighty-five percent of Ethiopia’s population participates in rain-fed agriculture on plots of land ranging from 0.25 hectare to 2.0 hectare on average. Environmental extremes such as drought are decreasing the land’s productive capacity leading to a decrease in subsistence agriculture, income, assets, and a rapid decline in the health and nutritional status of the rural population. Ethiopia’s largest city – the capitol city – Addis Ababa, is growing rapidly, in part due to rural-to-urban migration. Urban sprawl is facilitating the deterioration of an already weak infrastructure, promoting health and sanitation problems. However, migrants still come to the cities with the belief they will earn a labor wage, one they can remit back to the families and social supports they left behind. Understanding the interactions among “push” and “pull” factors that drive the decision to stay or to migrate in the context of changing environmental conditions is increasingly important as the global population grows. Examples of previously developed frameworks are presented and reviewed in the Ethiopian context. One framework that is reviewed is adapted to the Ethiopian-context to demonstrate how specific drivers within Ethiopia are influencing the decision to migrate. Moreover, this adapted framework is examined as a way to provide practical policy recommendations that may delay or better, prevent the onset of migration, by providing social and economic protections to rural households that protect rural livelihoods, and promote health, and nutritional status.
Global temperatures, precipitation patterns, and the severity and frequency of extreme climatic events are changing . These environmental changes are having many deleterious effects on the livelihoods of poor rural farmers globally who depend on rain-fed agriculture. A number of adaptation strategies such as the development of small-scale irrigation, mechanization of farm inputs, and changing crop-types have been implemented in many locales to mitigate the damage. Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, experiences the negative consequences of environmental change on a nearly annual basis, resulting in cyclical seasonal-hunger, and occasional famine . Ethiopia has a long history of poor infrastructure development, has few risk mitigation, adaptation, and coping strategies, and arguably has poor political will. These constraints have led to a dramatic increase in rural-to-urban migration as a last-resort coping option for poor rural farmers who are responding to the negative environmental extremes .
It is cited in the literature that population migration is a common adaptation or coping response to environmental stressors. As demonstrated in primary research, rural-to-urban migration is a common, yet often least desirable choice of coping strategy for poor rural families . Migration occurs in response to livelihood degradation, an inability to grow enough food, or to provide enough income for the family, and is highly influenced by the interaction of environmental change on five drivers of migration, namely political, social, economic, demographic, and environmental drivers . In a country such as Ethiopia where nearly 85 percent of the population is engaged in small-scale rain-fed agriculture, it is critical to understand how and why environmental degradation is driving individuals into cities .
The urbanization of rural farmers into cities with fractured and weak infrastructure often has negative consequences for the health of the migrant individuals exposing them to a new set of hazards. Overcrowded cities have difficulty absorbing the influx of new migrants trying to earn an income to help pay their land taxes, government loans on fertilizer, or other farming inputs. The families of these migrants who have stayed at home in the villages are similarly struggling with having enough food, water, or health care as they await remittance. Thus the “push” and “pull” mechanisms that are influencing rural-to-urban migration in sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly important to understand as the global population increases, and as the climate and environmental trends continue to threaten rural livelihoods.
Rural-to-urban or “labor migration,” the movement of able-bodied individuals from their rural village of origin to cities to earn a labor-wage is occurring at seemingly higher rates . While migration as a result of rapid-onset disasters has been examined in some contemporary papers [2,6-8], there appears to be a shortage of literature that reviews migration as an adaptation response to slow-onset or cumulative environmental degradation. Migration surveys that do exist focus on economic or rapid-onset environmental disaster as prompts to population movement. These surveys fail to acknowledge that families would often prefer to stay on or return to their land and cope or adapt to these changes, and are instead sending only one family member on a short-duration labor migration as a way to earn additional income, prolonging or preventing the onset of total-family migration [3,9,10].
Labor migration is a coping mechanism that helps families maintain rights to their land-holdings through labor-wage in non-agriculture, non-climate affected sectors . Of note, diverging reasons for migration come out of organizations such as the World Bank, which in its 2008 Urban Migration Study cites education and employment opportunities as the top two reasons individuals in-migrated to cities . Interestingly, education was not a reason cited by migrants in Addis Ababa . Accordingly, this paper seeks to understand the “push” and “pull” factors that lead to urban migration—economic versus climate induced—and to understand and develop a conceptual framework that examines the links between climate, economics, and buffer strategies that push or pull individuals to urban migration.
A literature review of the most recent research in this area follows. A critique of the research is provided along with evidence from the coinciding Primary Interview article to propose modifications of one existing framework that fits the Ethiopian context . Lastly, implications and further directions for future research are provided.
“Climate induced economic migration” is represented in the literature as an adaptation to land degradation for small-hold subsistence farmers. Migration is cited as providing a buffer against the detrimental economic implications of climate extremes, which may include loss of income, loss of livelihood, and even loss of land [13,2]. Slow-onset environmental changes can have a number of adverse consequences resulting in land degradation and have extreme negative impacts on household income and livelihood security . Desertification, deforestation, decreased soil moisture, salinization, land erosion, and loss of biodiversity are all examples of macro-level changes that take years to develop and that act as effect-multipliers of extreme weather events, having clear negative economic impacts on subsistence households, leaving no other option than to migrate out of their villages [15,14].
According to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, Ethiopia ranks number 160 out of 172 member states on the Human Development Index. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living for countries around the world and is used as a way to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life . Agriculture in Ethiopia accounts for 85 percent of employment, 50 percent of exports, and 43 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The average daily per capita income of Ethiopia’s rural poor (approximately 80 percent of the population) is less than $0.50 per day, significantly less than the international poverty line of $1.25 per day set by the World Bank in 2008 [17,18]. For most farming individuals, subsistence agriculture or pastoralism is the norm, and land-holdings are typically less than or equal to one hectare in area .
Households are dependent on seasonal rainfall for their livelihoods. As such, agro-climatic conditions are critical to rural households, affecting their ability to subsist off their land, earn an income, and protect what few assets and land-holdings they maintain. Land-tenure policies in Ethiopia prevent farming households from selling their land as a buffer strategy to prevent emergency migration or as a stop-gap measure to mitigate indirect impacts of climate extremes, including loss of livelihoods, and changes in health and nutritional status. Formal land rights in the pastoral and agricultural areas of Ethiopia are owned by the state on behalf of the peoples of Ethiopia . The constitution guarantees access to land for all Ethiopians who want to earn a living from farming, but leaves it to subsidiary (local) legislation, to be worked out by the ethnically based regional states who specify the terms and conditions under which land is made available to users . While property is passed down through inheritance structures, poor harvest incomes, high land-taxes, female children, and poor access to economic buffers can result in a loss of those land rights, and the division of lands . Inheritance laws parcel land to married sons such that a family residing on 1 hectare of land, parcels that land for each married son, decreasing each subsequent generation’s land-area . This land division results in individual farm units too small to be economically or nutritionally viable in many cases .
In years of little or off-timing rainfall or when there are extended dry-seasons, crop production can suffer, and households with few economic buffers including livestock, small animals, cash crops, or sufficient labor, resort to migration as their last-choice strategy to maintain their land tenure, but also as a way, to maintain their health and nutritional status . Land tenure in Ethiopia is inherited and cannot be sold, thus, when a family cannot maintain their land and have lost their assets, migration results in the loss of their land as it becomes reabsorbed by the government. Some empirical findings highlight the importance of migration of individual family members as a temporary and strategic adaptation that diversifies a household’s income and livelihood sources, modifying their vulnerability to environmental changes, and preventing or prolonging the loss of the family’s land [13,14].
Land degradation, a by-product of environmental changes, has been cited as another factor that results in migration. Additional factors that may increase the likelihood of migration include, decreasing soil productivity, increasing price of farming inputs, and decreasing arable land area, all of which decrease a household’s ability to provide for their family, thus, increasing the risk of out-migration . Household size in rural Ethiopia averages around seven individuals. Agricultural grain yields average less than one metric ton per hectare. Households with less than 0.25 hectare of land may only be able to harvest 0.25 metric ton of grain in a good growing season. These small harvests do not provide sufficient income or resources to feed a family for a whole year or to purchase seed and other agriculture inputs such as fertilizer and may result in labor migration to supplement the family’s income or food stocks . While Ethiopia does have a government-sponsored support program: The Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), the breadth and depth of this program alone is not sufficient as an adaptation strategy to prevent migration.
The PSNP is a safety-net program sponsored by the government of Ethiopia (GoE), designed to be a household-asset building program. The PSNP provides support in the form of seeds, fertilizer, food supplementation, cash-vouchers, and other consumables such as clothing or grains to the poorest farmers, who also meet eligibility requirements . Thus, agriculture and social protections in Ethiopia are intertwined, and are highly vulnerable as ways to protect against poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition . As a result of economic constraints and limited budget, the PSNP only covers approximately nine percent of the total population of Ethiopia, leaving a very high number of unsupported poor individuals with few other options than to migrate .
In light of what is currently known about the drivers of “climate induced economic migration,” gaps in knowledge include, 1) methods for predicting the minimum requirements or deficiencies that predict whether a farming household will initiate migration as a coping strategy. An understanding of how households utilize their assets, buffers, and coping strategies may make it possible to create policies and improve safety-net programs that provide specific and consistent buffers to households and village communities to prevent or limit the consequences of slow-onset climate disasters that halt migration.
A second gap in knowledge involves governance and political schemes related to infrastructure development and communication services that may prevent emergency migration. There needs to be additional research on best use and practices of water and sanitation services, roads, and asset development that is practical and accepted by rural household farmers. By filling those gaps in their home villages, they may not feel the need to obtain those services elsewhere.
Finally, a third gap in knowledge, noted by some authors is related to the need for empirical data that distinguishes clearly between environmental migration and economic migration, or specifically the determinants of migration. It will be important to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that rural households hold in regards to migration, and how external factors such as slow-onset environmental changes affect these determinants [25-27].
This paper reviews prior models of “migration predictors” in the context of the Hunnes, 2012 case-study to shed some light on a) the minimum requirements that predict migration, b) the links between climate and economic migration, and c) the change in policies and programs that may reduce out-migration.
In last year or two new methodologies have been developed to analyze migration and environment interactions where before, few existed. These new, comprehensive views of migration in environmental contexts have only surfaced in the last five to six years [2,13]. The Government Office for Science, London, has built on these previous frameworks by presenting a conceptual model to understand and assess the contextual effects of the environment, and environmental change, on human migration . This proposed framework, adapted to the Ethiopian context sees the environment as an influence on the contextual factors that drive of migration. This framework portrays environmental change as having both direct and indirect influences on the interacting drivers of migration, ultimately affecting the decision to migrate or to stay and cope . Rural populations have adopted strategies to cope with recurring drought . Migration may be undertaken only after other measures, such as reducing food consumption and selling off possessions have been exhausted. This view of the climate-migration relationship is taken through a lens of vulnerability. Vulnerability here is described in terms of the potential to experience harm or loss from some event or condition, seen as a function of exposure and adaptive capacity in a particular time and place. Similarly, vulnerability is related to factors that affect the likelihood of the event or condition occurring and the ability to cope with the event–dependent on access to assets or capital–if and when it occurs . Using the vulnerability lens, three conceptual models are proposed, each building on the prior but asserting migration as an adaptive response to climate change . Figures 1-3 represent adaptations of the conceptual models.
In this first model, figure 1: Migration as Response to Climate/Environmental Change, we assume that climate/environmental change stimulates some form of change in the environmental and/or socio-economic conditions of a given community or village . Whether the village’s institutions, including safety-nets, are capable of adapting to this change or whether the members have to implement their own adaptive strategies determines whether one or members of an individual household migrate. Climate events alter the “membership” within the village if it results in either migration out or other migrants in and thus affects future coping capacity. This model proposes that village adaptation occurs before household or individual responses. This however, may not be the case in Ethiopia .
This model provides only a basic framework for climate-migration processes focusing on how migration decisions are made as private adaptation at the household level, though still acknowledging that decisions can occur at the public or community level. Figure 2 below, a further adaption of the original model incorporates household capital as a way to understand potential adaptation responses.\
In this model, household capital influences adaptation options. The level of capital a household has distinguishes its ability to adapt to climate change, or to force migration. In this model, while household capital may be the most critical determining factor, village-endowments of capital may also influence adaptation abilities .
This model reflects migration theory. Migration theory portrays migration as not a simple binary phenomenon, but instead as multiple outcomes influenced by capital. Similarly, return migration is represented in this diagram, indicating that environmental conditions and capital are dynamic, and that the circumstances leading to outmigration at one point in time can change and lead to return-migration. This is very common in the Ethiopian context . This model however, remains simplistic taking only a very few factors into account.
Finally, in the third model, (figure 3), an additional arrow is added to indicate that some households have no other option but to migrate, as a result of their capital endowments. In this model the final arrow represents a household with a limited amount of capital endowment and represents their lack of adaptive capacity, leaving no choice other than migration .
The authors acknowledge that this model is limited in its scope describing climate-related migration out of a community, but does not suggest destination, nor does it describe the facts that lead migrants to come to, or to return to, the exposed community. Similarly, this model does not address how people’s perceptions of environmental changes and the associated risks affect their adaptive decisions; factors, which can be as influential as the realization of the risk itself . There are many limitations to the use of this model and does not provide direct relationships between the level of exposure to climate risks, perceptions, or other external factors for migration.
Other conceptual frameworks argue that climate hazards and environmental factors are “push” mechanisms that trigger individuals to modify their exposure to the hazard while noting that households may have a range of adaptation options that provide alternative outcomes to migration . Figure 4 is an adaptation of a model that demonstrates the effects of environmental hazards, a household’s ability to modify those vulnerabilities, and whether the outcome ends up as migration.
This model focuses on establishing a connection between climate and environmental change, floods/droughts in the Ethiopian context, and migration. In this model, migration behavior is theorized as a way to modify vulnerability to the negative effects of the environmental event. However, in determining whether migration will take place or not, it is essential to take other adaptation options into account .
Taken into account are the direct and indirect effects of environmental events that contribute to the migration decision. Relevant migration drivers such loss of livelihood, land, social welfare including hunger and food availability, and a decrease in work opportunities are accounted for, however, they are viewed as a chain of events . The blue arrows indicate that whether the influence takes place or not and depends on the vulnerability of the population which can be intercepted by an adaptation or modification that determines whether or not the depicted effect (migration) takes place or not.
The conceptual model shows how adaptation options can modify vulnerability and act on all linkages in the chain, it also shows that migration cannot be looked at separately, but must be analyzed in the context of its alternatives—modified exposure and vulnerability. A weakness to this model is that it lacks information on the strength of individual influences; similarly, it focuses on complete loss of land as a result of disaster, which may not be applicable in slow-onset environmental changes that also increase vulnerability but do not completely destroy the habitability of the landscape .
Finally, the Government Office for Science, London, (GOSL) argues that the way many of these previous models have focused on the environmental hazard and an individual’s decisions to migrate underemphasizes a number of key social drivers that also influence in- and out-migration . As noted previously, adaptation to climate change and environmental hazards may take on several forms, but much of the existing literature indicates that these adaptations cluster around economic and social factors while environmental factors are rarely mentioned .
Moreover, migration needs to be understood as one part of a broader set of processes of social transformation, arising from major changes in global, political, economic, and social relationships . With these themes in mind, the final framework presented in this paper is one that is adapted from GOSL and incorporates macro-level contextual factors, including social, political, environmental, economic, and demographic factors, based on the primary interviews obtained in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [3,4]. Macro-level factors act as structural and behavioral drivers of migration that incorporate climate change as an added influence on an individual’s decision to migrate.
Figure 5 is the original conceptual model from the GOSL . The focus of the model resides with a set of “drivers of migration,” and how these contextual characteristics may be influenced by climate change. While the drivers of migration have not yet reached consensus in the literature, this model, with appropriate adaptations as garnered from primary interviews, provides a range of drivers that might predict the volume, direction, and frequency of migratory movement, as well as the different levels of analysis at which migration might be considered in Ethiopia [3,4].
The four components of the framework proposed by GOSL, are: (1) A distinction between different types of migration (staying or migrating), (2) The identification of five primary families of drivers of migration (the pentagon), (2a) The recognition that it is actual or perceived differences across space and time of these drivers which influence migration, (3) Incorporation of agency in determining how drivers translate into outcomes, (3a) The representation of barriers and facilitators to movement, and (4) Incorporation of environmental change as a direct influence on migration through changes to environmental drivers, and also as an indirect influence through changes to the other four drivers .
As noted, a distinction is to be made between mobility and displacement. Displacement is defined as the movement that occurs in association with discrete events that challenge a household’s safety, security, or livelihoods. Displacement is involuntary or forced, often as a result of rapid onset hazards. Mobility on the other hand is explicated as a proactive move to improve livelihoods and opportunities, is seen as an adaptation, and is typically voluntary and planned . In this framework, the focus is on mobility, the decision of when to move and the motivation for that movement—the factors that drive migration.
The five drivers of migration, the push-pull factors, as defined in this model include: economic drivers, political drivers, demographic drivers, environmental drivers, and social drivers. It is the actual or perceived spatial and temporal differences in these dimensions that influence an individual or household’s decision to migrate or to stay. Incorporating the spatial and temporal aspects of these dimensions, promotes the idea that a unique set of qualities can exist at any one time in any one context to affect each individual’s decision on whether or not to migrate.
The first driver: economic drivers include such push-pull factors as employment opportunities, income and wages, producer prices, and consumer prices. These drivers have direct effects on migration, as described in the literature. Ethiopian dependence on agriculture can impact the decision on whether or not to migrate as a result of changes in price of farming-inputs such as fertilizer and seed. As input-prices increase, the return on investment will be influenced by environmental changes—changes in rainfall, drought, floods, even temperature and soil composition. Price volatility may therefore require households or individuals to seek employment opportunities in non-agricultural sectors, diversifying income and wages, thereby motivating a decision to migrate. The length of time, direction, and place of movement is linked to the personal circumstances of each migrant and may include social connections with people in the planned destinations, information derived from return-migrants, or assumptions created by individuals who perceive few options other than migration.
A second driver: political drivers of migration affect the decision to migrate via a number of policy schemes including land tenure laws, taxation, and governance structures. In Ethiopia, land tenure laws are such that each successive generation obtains parcels of land from their parents thereby decreasing overall land size for each family. Less land provides less ability to grow adequate food or to derive an adequate income to pay the government land-tax. Although individual families do not own their land—it is state owned—they must nonetheless pay tax on the land every year. Poverty, including land poverty, as a result of rural-land laws, alone may be a significant, if not one of the most significant factors to push migration. Climate or environmental change may exacerbate this push as small land holdings become less productive. Less important in the Ethiopian context appear to be factors such as discrimination or persecution, conflict or insecurity, although communications still tend to be somewhat repressive in that the government owns all modes of communication including internet, television, radio, and telephone.
A third driver: demographic drivers of migration affect an individual’s decision to migrate as a function of how it interacts with other drivers, specifically economic drivers. Black et al, argue that it is not the presence of large number of people in a region that trigger outmigration, but rather it is the presence of large number without access to employment, to land, or to livelihood opportunities; often a problem encountered by the young. Thus, the demographic characteristics of a region will influence who moves in response to economic drivers, but may also be affected by the burden of disease or ill-health within a community. In communities with few health and medical resources, out-migration may be influenced by prevalence of disease such that individuals must migrate to cities for treatment. Similarly, the demographics of a receiving area, such as a city, may affect the demand for jobs and employment opportunities such as labor-work, which increase the perceived attractiveness of that area, as compared to the region of origin .
A fourth driver: social drivers of migration include family and cultural expectations or practices regarding inheritance, and according to Black et al, 2011, the search for educational opportunities. Social drivers are influenced by political drivers as inheritance of land, cattle, and other assets while often based on social norms, is also affected by political schema, particularly for land. While historically, students migrate internationally for educational purposes, internal migration in Ethiopia for students of primary and secondary school age does not appear to result from the desire for education, as most students prefer to learn in their village of origin. In some specific cultures, migration is seen as a key part of social and cultural development, and to elucidate that cultural norm from some of the other drivers may in fact be a difficult task .
This model asserts that the largest effect of social drivers is on the destination migrants choose. “Gravity models” of migration indicate that there exists an interaction between economic and social drivers as push and pull factors in the decision to migrate . Migration networks—a form of social network, can be formal through agencies, or information through kin networks. Past migration and migration of family members of friends can be a good predictor of future migration. Similarly, remittance flows can aid in the maintenance of family connections as well as providing resources that sustain livelihoods for those staying behind. According to these models, social drivers can provide a backdrop to understand how and why opportunities to migrate are not evenly distributed.
The fifth driver: environmental drivers of migration affect a population’s exposure to hazards that may influence the decision to migrate as well as affect the availability of ecosystem services and the ability of the environment and ecosystem to absorb, regulate, or provide for human well-being . Rapid-onset environmental events such as floods, tsunamis, landslides, earthquakes, wildfires, and volcanic eruptions prompt migration or displacement. Displacement tends to be short distance, are short-lived, and return often occurs after the event has passed given a sufficient level of environmental and political stability. In some cases, when the severity of the damage is too great, displaced people may never return, usually because their home or livelihood has been destroyed or because of a fear of repeat events. Availability, stability, and access to ecosystem services are ways in which livelihoods and well-being are directly affected by environmental changes . Accordingly, changes in ecosystem service access affect the decision to migrate and can be threatened by rapid onset events, but is typically affected by slow onset environmental conditions such as droughts, soil erosion, salinization, and other land/climate degradation which reduce productivity and instigate short-term mobility for an alternative source of income.
As noted earlier, mobility can be seen as part of an adaptive response strategy to maintain household wellbeing by diversifying a household’s livelihood portfolio [14,30]. While both rapid- and slow-onset environmental changes may trigger displacement and mobility, for whom, where, and when migration occurs is often determined by the socio-economic context of these individuals or households [14,30].
Effect of Environmental Change: Environmental changes have the potential to influence the drivers of migration. In the Ethiopian context, the most significant and extensive environmental changes will likely include extreme environmental events, changing rain and drought patterns, land degradation or productivity, habitability, water security, and food security. Each of these types of change is likely to impact migration directly and indirectly through its interactions with other drivers through a number of pathways.
Most notably, changes in rainfall can lead increased or decreased risk of flooding and drought, affecting the availability of water for domestic, agricultural, and pastoral uses, changing crop and pasture productivity, influencing food and water security. Floods may threaten lives and livelihoods as much as drought as a result of their rapid onset, loss of soil and land, and dangerous and unpredictable nature. Secondly, the frequency of high temperature extremes decreases crop productivity and the provision of ecosystem services. Thirdly, land degradation drives migration by deteriorating agricultural land and crop yield through salinization, soil erosion, and toxic materials while also increasing the risk of flood . These environmental changes heighten food and water insecurity, and therefore influence the decision to migrate.
Environmental change may also have indirect influences on migration, through its influence on the other drivers and through its influence on personal characteristics and intervening obstacles to migration. Environmental changes alter an individual or household’s risk factors. These changes can be on economic drivers through agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods, employment and settlement. Environmental changes may affect political drivers through conflict and public policy . In the specific case of Ethiopia, political drivers include annual property or land tax, land tenure regulations, and governmental loan structures, which may influence the decision to migrate. Whether a family can afford to pay their land tax is often based on the income they make from the previous harvest, and may influence the decision to migrate.
Environmental change can affect economic drivers by depleting a household’s wealth, assets, and income. The cost of moving may outweigh the cost of staying, but may be influenced by the harvest season. Reduced crop and livestock productivity as a result of environmental change may result in the sale of other assets used in agriculture, including oxen, thus reducing household income. Paying back governmental loans may motivate migration if environmental changes leave no other option or coping mechanism. Adaptation strategies to increase income often involve migration to find alternative non-agriculture sources of income . Evidence suggests that the effects of environmental change will be felt most strongly by the poorest households, those with insecure livelihoods, and those with the fewest adaptation strategies, social ties, or economic buffers .
The decision to migrate has two outcomes, migrate and stay. Thus, it is also necessary to review contextual factors of where an individual may migrate. That is to say environmental change may also affect other locations, such that a large influx of individuals into a city where little water exists due to drought, may increase health risks beyond what might be experienced in the village of origin. Similarly, having few social ties in a new area may independently influence the decision to migrate if other social, economic, or political factors are considered. Finally, policies to address environmental change including land-use policy or resource management and conservation, may affect the drivers of migration. Policies that are pro-development and infrastructure may have the ability to improve economic growth and opportunities in villages decreasing the need or desire to migrate.
This framework can be used to create hypotheses to frame empirical studies that look into the impact of environmental change on migration. To date, few studies have looked into understanding how environmental change influences the other drivers of migration, how economic, political, social, and demographic factors may interact to influence whether or not an individual or household decides to migrate. This framework can be used to inform policy, environmental policy, economic and social policy. Because this framework utilizes a range of drivers—motivations and consequences, policies that address migration can build on this knowledge base. Policies that improve rural livelihoods and income may have significant impacts or deter the decision to migrate. This framework can also be used to characterize or model potential future migration patterns and can be used for planning purposes to predict and mitigate when and where migration occurs. As observed in the primary interview study with rural-to-urban migrants, this framework demonstrates the majority of predictors to migration and helps to generate policy recommendations  and is recommended as a start for future research.
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