The impact of environmental factors on internal migration in Iran with a focus on drought

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Demography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Climate change and its consequences for residents in various regions have led to environmental migration, which has become in the center of attention of researchers and policymakers. Using mixed method approach, this paper aims to understand the relationship between drought and internal migration. Accordingly, in the quantitative part, by estimating the 30-year drought level for 110 counties using the SPI index and out-migration rates of the selected counties, the relation between these two variables was examined. The results show that drought in dry regions has a positive relationship with migration in these regions. However, no correlation was found in other areas of the country with different climates. In order to better understand the issue, two districts of Negin Kavir in Kerman Province and Tasooj in Fars Province, which are regions with very dry climates, respectively, have been investigated. A sample of residents of each region were in-depth interviewed about the effects of drought on their lives. The results indicate that drought affects the residents of these regions in two ways: risking their livelihoods and risking people’s health. In the occurrence of continuous droughts, migration is considered as a last solution to the problem, and prior to that the residents of such regions try to confront this problem by adjusting their lives with these new conditions. However, in comparison with residents of more developed regions, residents of less-developed regions have a less opportunity to adapt with the new condition. Accordingly, adaptation strategies in these regions have failed, and people were forced to migrate.  Therefore, the impact of drought on migration depends upon the climate situation as well as regional economic contexts and development level. 


Main Subjects

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