Authors: Kelly Anderson*, University of Maryland - College Park
Topics: Migration, Economic Geography, Development
Keywords: Migration, Urbanization, Africa, Extreme Weather
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
An urban revolution is taking place in Africa, largely driven by rapid rural-to-urban migration (Grant 2015). Historically, development theorists explained rural-to-urban migration as a strategy to increase household income through better access to urban markets and employment opportunities. However, a growing body of research recognizes migration as a nuanced human response to a constellation of factors, including experience with extreme weather events, and that benefits of migration are not always evenly distributed. Migrants may be exposed to greater social and environmental vulnerability in post-migration urban contexts. Beira city presents as an appropriate case study to examine the drivers and outcomes of migration in Africa, given Beira has characteristics general to urban centers in Africa: recent economic growth, in-migration, access by port and transport corridor, and high levels of environmental vulnerability. This research investigates patterns and outcomes of rural-to-urban migration in response to climate-related impacts to ecosystem services and rural livelihoods using quantitative and qualitative data resulting from 158 semi-structured household interviews. Specifically, it examines the extent to which migrants perceive their relocation as a response to extreme weather events and whether relocation was forced or voluntary, and how urban household socioeconomic status, energy and water consumption, housing quality, and livelihoods vary when migration is disaggregated by choice from displacement movements. This study responds to calls in the literature for more empirical investigation regarding the role of climate on migration patterns, and contributes to improved understanding of how these patterns influence disparities in wealth and social opportunity in migrant-receiving urban areas.