Climatic Change

, Volume 140, Issue 3–4, pp 423–435 | Cite as

Droughts augment youth migration in Northern Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Javier Baez
  • German Caruso
  • Valerie MuellerEmail author
  • Chiyu Niu


While evidence on the linkages between migration and climate is starting to emerge, the subject remains largely under-researched at regional scale. Knowledge on the matter is particularly important for Northern Latin America and the Caribbean, a region of the world characterized by exceptionally high migration rates and substantial exposure to natural hazards. We link individual-level information from multiple censuses for eight countries in the region with natural disaster indicators constructed from georeferenced climate data at the province level to measure the impact of droughts and hurricanes on internal mobility. We find that younger individuals are more likely to migrate in response to these disasters, especially when confronted with droughts. Youth exhibit a stronger inclination towards relocating to rural and small town settings, motivated possibly by opportunities for nearby off-farm employment and financing limitations for urban transport and living expenses. Migration decisions are mediated by national institutional arrangements. These findings highlight the importance of social protection and regional planning policies to reduce the vulnerability of youth to droughts in the future and secure their economic integration.


Gross Domestic Product Tropical Rainfall Measure Mission Standard Deviation Increase Drought Intensity Hurricane Intensity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful for constructive comments from Richard Akresh, Laura Chioda, and participants of the Carolina Population Center Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1863_MOESM1_ESM.docx (99 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 99 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Baez
    • 1
  • German Caruso
    • 1
  • Valerie Mueller
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chiyu Niu
    • 3
  1. 1.World BankWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Development Strategy and Governance DivisionInternational Food Policy Research InstituteWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural and Consumer EconomicsUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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