Rural migration in Bolivia: the impact of climate change, economic crisis and state policy
This paper describes the impact of gradual environmental change on the livelihoods of people living in two very different areas of Bolivia: the Northern Potosí region, in the Andean highlands, and the municipality of San Julián, in the tropical eastern lowlands of the country. The authors show that mobility has long been an essential component of livelihoods in both locations, and in many cases it is increasing as the result of the decline in natural resources due to climate change. There are also important links between internal and international migration, and growing reliance on remittances and transfers of cash and food. At the same time, however, there are major differences in the duration and destinations of migration, and in the composition of the migrant flows. These differences are determined by socio-economic and cultural factors such as limited local non-farm economic opportunities and restricted access to land, which make it difficult to diversify income sources and increase people’s vulnerability. This is especially the case for young people, who are the largest proportion of migrants in both the research’s locations.