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Fernando Riosmena, University of Colorado at Boulder

Climate migration across contexts, gender, and the life course: an examination in contemporary Mexico

Climate change is expected to continue increasing average temperatures and rainfall variability across the globe, and certainly the rural Global South, where reliance on e.g., rainfed agriculture makes households and communities highly vulnerable to variability and, thus, to the increasing impacts of climate change. I examine the way in which these changes are likely impacting international and internal migration dynamics out of rural Mexico. Because a large number of these communities have deep-rooted historical connections to U.S. labor markets, international migration may be a likely adaptation strategy to climate change in addition to internal mobility, even though climate shocks can also "trap" populations in place.  Prior research has found a positive association between lower rainfall and other measures associated with drought and Mexico-US migration, yet only in particular regions or social/economic contexts, and where examinations of patterns by gender and across the life course have been virtually nonexistent. Using data from two Mexican Census surveys with retrospective migration measures, I examine the way in which rainfall-temperature shocks are associated with international and internal mobility patterns, exploiting variation in the timing of these shocks across Census periods to better identify the likely environmental impacts on gender- and age-specific migration.

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