Population and Environment

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 185–206 | Cite as

Household migration as a livelihood adaptation in response to a natural disaster: Nicaragua and Hurricane Mitch

  • Peter LoebachEmail author
Original Paper


This study uses data drawn from the Nicaragua Living Standards and Measurement Study Survey to examine international livelihood migrations from Nicaragua in the years surrounding the rapid-onset Hurricane Mitch event of 1998. The likelihood of an international livelihood migration occurring between the years 1996 and 2001 is modeled utilizing discrete-time event history analysis. While findings indicate no influence of Hurricane Mitch on likelihood of livelihood migration, the Mitch event is associated with increased migrant selectivity according to past household migration experience for migrations to Costa Rica, suggesting these migrations to be livelihood adaptations of those with high capability in the form of access to migrant social networks. In addition, the Mitch event is found to be associated with decreased likelihood of migration by small business owners. This finding is interpreted as reflecting business owning households choosing to forego sending migrants to instead have ‘all hands on deck’ to assist with business operations.


International migration Disasters Natural hazards Livelihoods Vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyWeber State UniversityOgdenUSA

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