Climate shocks reduce temporary urban out-migration rates in Eastern Africa

Share this to :


As African countries experience more climate change-related shocks and related economic impacts, migration patterns are shifting as workers in affected areas move to places with better employment prospects. While climate-induced migration is a growing global phenomenon, currently only minimal data exists on temporary migration patterns in Eastern Africa.

In a paper published in World Development, we explore how individuals respond to changes in labor opportunities due to climate variability—extreme temperature and rainfall shocks—in Eastern Africa.

Interestingly, we found no evidence of the common narrative in the literature, which focuses on temporary out-migration from rural areas to adapt to climate shocks. Instead, it was the migration patterns of urban workers that were more likely to change. Our analysis shows that in urban areas, migration rates drop by 10% with a one standard deviation increase from mean temperature, and by 12% with a one standard deviation decrease in precipitation.

Photo credit: Todd Post/Bread for the World

Share this to :