What drives human migration in the Sahelian countries? A meta-analysis

K. Neumann, F. Hermans

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background research on this topic is characterized by contradictory findings regarding the nature, the volume and the interactions of the different drivers of migration. And this literature is composed by fragmented empirical studies. Research questions: What are the drivers of migration in the Sahelian countries? In this research, the role of environmental drivers—next to non-environmental factors—is studied. Methods: Meta-analysis through a systemic literature search. Through a selection process with specific eligibility criteria’s (i.e. only studies which focus on the drivers of migration) the authors came to a set of 53 studies in 8 different countries. Results: Only two families of environmental factors are mentioned in this literature: drought and land degradation/desertification. Drivers underlined in the set of literature are primarily economic (e.g. search for employment) and social factors (e.g. marriage or education). Those two categories cover 82% of all drivers mentioned. There are only 11 studies that incorporate drought episodes as direct drivers of migration and 4 that include land degradation. A couple of other studies revealed that the environmental drivers rather play an indirect role (primarily within the context of agricultural production). Conclusion: It seems impossible to come up with a complete, distinct list of causes for such a big region. But it is possible to reveal the overall processes that lead to migration. Discussion: There will be soon a database online referencing all the publications related to environment and migration > CLIMIG (available from: http://www.proclim.ch/4dcgi/proclim/en/news?2711). Discussion about the methodology and the selection of the database (consisting of articles)


WorkshopCOST Workshop Report “Empirical evidence and policy responses regarding climate change and migration – What role for migration in local adaptation?” Bonn, Germany


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