Some overall conclusions

  • While natural disasters have displaced 344 million people between 2008 and 2021, they have rarely led to long-term emigration or displacement across international borders.
  • The implications of gradual environmental degradation induced by climate change on internal mobility and international migration are more complex to assess and predict than the direct effects of sudden-onset natural disasters.
  • Over the last 40 years, more than 2 billion people have moved from rural- to urban areas. While it is not possible to isolate climate change as a factor, environmental degradation has in general intensified this movement.
  • Model calculations assume that, until 2050, between 78 and 175 million people will be mobile due to climate change, but only a minority of these will become internationally mobile.
  • The future of climate-induced internal mobility and international migration is uncertain. We must assume the human ability to cope and adapt, which opens up possibilities for people to stay and survive in affected regions. Central for this is the political will and collective resolve to invest in prevention and adaptation.

About the Authors

Mathias Czaika is a University Professor in Migration and Integration and Head of the Department for Migration and Globalisation at Danube University, Krems, Austria.

Rainer Münz is an expert in Demography and international migration. He’s currently visiting professor at the Central European University (Department of Public Policy) and at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria.

The Delmi Research Overview is launched on November 8, 2022.

Photo by Thiago Matos at Pexels