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Understanding the Effect of Climate Change on the Migration of Marshallese Islanders

Analyzing Correlations and Effects of Human Migration of Marshallese Islanders

Dates

Start Date
2016-10-01
End Date
2018-09-30
Release Date
2016

Summary

As one of the lowest-lying island nation-states in the world, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is acutely vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding, and the associated intrusion of saltwater into crucial freshwater supplies. Persistent drought is further affecting agricultural production in the RMI. Many Marshallese communities are already experiencing these changes and are migrating to larger islands within the RMI and to other countries like the U.S. to, among other things, seek alternative means of making a living and access healthcare. The number of Marshallese residing in the U.S. has rapidly risen over the past two decades, from 7,000 in 2000 to 22,000 in 2010. There is also substantial internal migration, mainly from [...]

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Oct 9 2014_Maj_Kathy Jetnil Kijiner.jpg
“High tides on October 9, 2014 cause flooding in Majuro - Credit: Kathy Kijiner”
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Purpose

As one of the lowest-lying island nation-states in the world, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is acutely vulnerable to sea-level rise and the associated intrusion of saltwater into crucial freshwater supplies. Persistent drought is also destroying important agricultural lands in the RMI. Many Marshallese communities are already experiencing these changes and are migrating to larger islands within the RMI and to other countries, like the U.S., to seek alternative means of making a living. The number of Marshallese residing in the U.S. has rapidly risen over the past two decades, from 7,000 in 2000 to 22,000 in 2010. The factors triggering human migration are complex and often intertwined, making it difficult to pinpoint and address specific causes from a public policy perspective. For example, changes in ecosystems due to climate change can cause health problems or food insecurity which may have greater consequences in communities with political, social, or economic tension. Decision makers at local and state levels – in both the RMI and outside countries – who may be considering policies related to immigrant access to services and population change, need information to better understand the factors contributing to current migration, and to anticipate possible future impacts of climate on human migration. This project will examine the extent to which we can identify direct and indirect links between patterns of human migration and climate events. The researchers will examine migration trends and motivations, characterize changes that have taken place to local lands and ecosystems in the RMI, and use projections of climate change to understand which islands and communities may be at highest risk in the future. The project will also explore the impact of human migration on lands and ecosystems in the receiving communities.

Project Extension

projectStatusIn Progress

Budget Extension

parts
typeAward Type
valueCooperative Agreement
typeAward Number
valueG16AC00386
totalFunds236108.0
annualBudgets
year2016
totalFunds140145.0
year2017
totalFunds95963.0

High tides on October 9, 2014 cause flooding in Majuro - Credit: Kathy Kijiner
High tides on October 9, 2014 cause flooding in Majuro - Credit: Kathy Kijiner

Map

Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS

Communities

  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Pacific Islands CASC

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DEPTH-2.7.1

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