Rainfall and Migration in Mexico

Amy Teller, Brown University
Leah K. VanWey, Brown University

Demographers have become increasingly interested over the past 15 years in the natural environment as a driver and consequence of demographic change. In this paper, we build on a small but growing literature that does so through the examination of rainfall patterns and migration. We consider the relationship between rainfall and both temporary and permanent migration in Mexico using prospective data from the Mexican Family Life Survey linked to monthly gridded data on rainfall covering more than 50 years. These data allow us to match local (municipio) levels of rainfall, both over a long time period and in recent years, to out-migration between waves 1 and 2 to the MxFLS (2002 and 2005). Our results contrast those in much of the literature on Mexican migration by showing the strong positive effects of average rainfall historically and the largely absent effect of short-term deviations (droughts or good periods) during this period.

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Presented in Session 101: Population Dynamics and Climate Change