Population and Environment

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 344–370 | Cite as

Climate change and population migration in Brazil’s Northeast: scenarios for 2025–2050

  • Alisson F. BarbieriEmail author
  • Edson Domingues
  • Bernardo L. Queiroz
  • Ricardo M. Ruiz
  • José I. Rigotti
  • José A. M. Carvalho
  • Marco F. Resende
Original Paper


This research contributes to an understanding of the relationship between climate change, economic impacts and migration. We model the long-term relationship (up to 45 years of projection) between demographic dynamics—particularly migration—driven by changes in the performance of the economy due to climate changes in the Northeast region of Brazil. The region is of particular relevance to the study of climate change impacts given its large human population (28% of Brazil’s population) and high levels of impoverishment, having an extensive semi-dry area which will be severely impacted by growing temperatures. Ultimately, the integrated model generates state- and municipal-level migration scenarios based on climate change impacts on the primary economic sectors and their articulations with other sectors. Results suggest that the predicted climate changes will impact severely the agriculture sector in the region, acting as a potential migration push factor to other regions in the country. Finally, we discuss how the increased vulnerability of some groups, particularly migrants, can be factored into Brazilian public policy and planning.


Climate change Migration Brazilian Northeast Agriculture Adaptation Vulnerability 



The authors thank the United Kingdom Embassy in Brazil for supporting the execution of this research project, which was funded by the Global Opportunities Fund, the United Kingdom Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had the institutional support of CEDEPLAR/UFMG and FIOCRUZ. Thanks also are due to INPE for the data on climate scenarios and EMBRAPA for providing the agricultural scenarios. The authors, however, take full responsibility for the results and interpretation described here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alisson F. Barbieri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edson Domingues
    • 1
  • Bernardo L. Queiroz
    • 1
  • Ricardo M. Ruiz
    • 1
  • José I. Rigotti
    • 1
  • José A. M. Carvalho
    • 1
  • Marco F. Resende
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Regional Development and Planning (CEDEPLAR)Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)Minas GeraisBrazil

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