Conceptual Simulation Model for Climate Migration and Population Health
Growing literature expects that environmental degradation due to climate change (combined with non-environmental factors) will increasingly drive migration from affected areas in this century. It reflects psychology that views ecological decline as reducing the quality of life. Another literature projects that climate will have adverse health outcomes worldwide, including both physical and mental, but the role of this climate migration in health, particularly population health, is under-discussed. The paper assesses and illuminates the need for greater focus and work on climate migration by conceptually modeling the causal flow from environmental degradation in an origin area, to leaving this site, to the health of migrant and native populations in the host area. The conceptual modeling condenses and clarifies some of the questions at stake and suggests the need for future research including the codification and empirical testing of this or similar models. This capability is illustrated by heuristically simulating the model to contribute to emerging discussions on climate migration and population health. The article assesses the results and applies them to comment on policies seeking to promote population health in areas poised to receive many climate migrants in this century.