The study examines the migration behaviour of rural residents in coastal Bangladesh, which is one of the most-climate stressed areas of the world.
The primary reason for the migration of people from coastal Bangladesh to the cities is better employment opportunities or education. Environmental stressors and climate hazards are the second reason that affects economic and livelihood opportunities in rural coastal areas.
Environmental hazards also act as a “push” for around 6.5% members of these communities to leave the area and a “pull” when they come back again to reunite with family members. Climate migration is a growing problem, according to the study (Bernzen, Jenkins, & Braun, 2019).
With a population of nearly 60 million, one-third of the people living in Bangladesh coastal areas are considered poor. Coastal communities face sudden onsets of climate hazards like extreme flooding, storm surges, riverbank erosion, growing salinization, land subsidence, and sea-level rise (Bernsen et al., 2019).
The study finds that people who move to the cities are those who possess the following characteristics or “resources”: being male, younger, working outside of agriculture, and with higher human and horizontal social capital as the main reason. People who have family members in the city are willing to help them out with lodging, or those with skills and education to be able to survive in the urban areas.
Environmental stressors and climate hazards play an important role in why people leave as well. Loss of arable land, families affected by rice paddies converted to shrimp farms, damages caused by cyclones, and gradual salinization of agricultural land acts push people to move to urban areas.
Urban migration from rural areas has rapidly grown in the last three decades creating urban slums.
Coastal residents who chose to remain are facing challenges from projected sea-level rise in the next 30 to 50 years and other environmental stressors which present severe obstacles to coastal resilience.
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Bernzen, A., Jenkins, J., & Braun, B. (2019). Climate Change-Induced Migration in Coastal Bangladesh? A Critical Assessment of Migration Drivers in Rural Households under Economic and Environmental Stress. Geosciences, 9(1), 51. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9010051