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Population and Environment

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 113–141 | Cite as

The use of survey data to study migration–environment relationships in developing countries: alternative approaches to data collection

  • Richard E. BilsborrowEmail author
  • Sabine J. F. Henry
Original Paper

Abstract

Growing interest in the environmental aspects of migration is not matched by research on their interrelationships, due partly to the lack of adequate data sets on the two together. Focusing on the microlevel, we describe the data required to effectively investigate these interrelationships. Data sources are discussed, including information that should be collected, focusing on household surveys and remote sensing. The main section of the paper describes three alternative approaches to data collection: (a) using existing population and environmental data from different sources, illustrated by Burkina Faso; (b) adding questions to a survey developed for another purpose, illustrated for Guatemala using a DHS survey; and (c) designing a new survey specifically to collect both migration and environmental data to investigate interrelationships, illustrated by Ecuador. Methods used and summary findings are described, followed by a discussion of their advantages and limitations. We conclude with recommendations as to effective use of each approach as research on migration–environment linkages moves forward.

Keywords

Migration Rural environment Household survey Remote sensing Land use Climate change Burkina Faso Guatemala Ecuador 

Notes

Acknowledgments

For Burkina Faso, we are grateful to the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Population (Burkina Faso), the Université de Montréal (Canada), and the Program Majeur en Population et Développement (Mali) for access to the demographic and community data, and to the Climatic Research Unit (UK) for rainfall data. For Guatemala, the data and questionnaire are publicly available. Funding for the original Ecuador data collection in 2008 and the preliminary analysis was provided by the US National Institutes of Health (R21-HD052092). Data were collected by the Centro de Estudios de Población y Desarrollo Social (Quito). Brian Frizzelle of the Spatial Analysis Unit of the UNC Carolina Population Center obtained and analyzed the satellite imagery. Finally, we are grateful for useful comments on a previous draft from Clark Gray and two anonymous referees.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Département de Géographie, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la PaixUniversite de NamurNamurBelgium

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