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Roman Hoffmann is a research scholar and group leader in the IIASA Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) Program. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Vienna and degrees in sociology and economics from the University of Munich. His applied research focuses on the relationship between the environment and population, including impacts of climate change on human mobility, climate vulnerability and resilience, and adaptation. In addition, he is interested in climate mitigation, the drivers of pro-environmental behavior, and support for climate action.
"Climate Change, Aridity and Internal Migration: Evidence from Census Microdata for 72 Countries"
The role played by climate change as a migration driver has received widespread public and scientific attention in the last decade. However, especially for internal migration which is the most common migration pattern, cross-nationally comparable data are missing, challenging the empirical estimation of climatic impacts. Here, we use a novel census-based dataset to estimate the impacts of increased aridity and drought on internal migration worldwide. The longitudinal data are based on IPUMS International census microdata for 72 countries, covering the period 1960-2016. We use information on the current and previous place of residence of the census participants to calculate 140,480 bilateral internal migration flows between 1,454 subnational regions of origin and destination. Combining the migration data with climate data, we find evidence of a sizable impact of drier conditions on human mobility. The impact is strongest in already arid areas, in particular, in Africa, highlighting the role of increased aridification in this region. Similarly, humid areas, in particular, in South and Southeast Asia, also observe a large migration response to drier conditions. Further distinguishing by migrant characteristics, we find a stronger impact of experiencing drier conditions on the migration of lower educated population group.