Who Perceives What? A Demographic Analysis of Environmental Risk Perception in Rural Thailand

Jacqueline Meijer-Irons, University of Washington

A number of empirical studies that examine the impact of the environment on migration patterns in rural areas present mixed results as to who moves in the face of environmental stress. While many of these studies show a relationship between adverse environmental conditions and out migration, they tend to rely on objective environmental data to model the environment. My paper incorporates 14 years of retrospective risk assessment among rural households across 4 provinces in Thailand to investigate the role that risk perception plays in household adaptive response. Early results indicate heterogeneity among households in their perception of the environment across space and time. This paper will investigate the socio-demographic determinants of these patterns, and also compare reports of environmental stress against objective environmental data. A nuanced understanding of how and which rural households perceive risk and the actions taken to ameliorate this risk adds an additional dimension to the question of human response to climate change.

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Presented in Session 226: Demography of Disasters II