Climate Variability and Human Migration in the Netherlands, 1865-1937


Human migration is frequently cited as a potential social outcome of climate change and variability, and these effects are often assumed to be stronger in the past when economies were less developed and markets more localized. Yet, few studies have used historical data to test the relationship between climate and migration directly. In addition, the results of recent studies that link demographic and climate data are not consistent with conventional narratives of displacement responses. Using longitudinal individual-level demographic data from the Historical Sample of the Netherlands (HSN) and climate data that cover the same period, we examine the effects of climate variability on migration using event history models. Only internal moves in the later period and for certain social groups are associated with negative climate conditions, and the strength and direction of the observed effects change over time. International moves decrease with extreme rainfall, suggesting that the complex relationships between climate and migration that have been observed for contemporary populations extend into the nineteenth century

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