Migration, climate, and international aid: examining evidence of satellite, aid, and micro-census data

Daniel Miller Runfola, Ashley Napier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last ten years, an increasing quantity and quality of data regarding migration and climate risk has become available, leading to a broad body of research examining the relationships between climate impacts on livelihoods and corresponding migratory patterns. This research has provided evidence that migration can serve as an adaptive strategy if local livelihoods are threatened. However, little research has examined the response – or lack of – from the international aid and donor community in response to these shifts. In this paper, we take the first step toward examining this relationship, utilizing a recently produced database on the sub-national spatial allocation of international aid from 1998 to 2012 in Malawi. We examine the research question: what is the sub-national relationship between international aid and migratory patterns? To analyze this question, we integrate sub-national micro-census information with satellite-derived measurements of climate and the spatial location and amount of international aid. We find evidence that (1) aid does not reduce the likelihood of migration from a location and (2) increased levels of migration do not increase the likelihood of aid being sent to a location.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-292
Number of pages18
JournalMigration and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • adaptive capacity
  • aid
  • migration
  • mitigation
  • resilience

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