The importance of climate to emigration intentions from a tropical city in Australia

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    Cities in tropical regions, already hot, will experience more days of extreme heat as the climate changes. While many people adapt to heat, some find high temperatures unbearable, particularly if coupled with high humidity. One adaptation strategy is to move to cooler regions but empirical evidence for this happening is lacking. This study aims to assess 1) the extent to which heat influences migration intentions of people living in the tropical city of Darwin, Australia, relative to other drivers, and 2) the type of people most likely to leave because of heat. We conducted a best-worst-scaling in a mail-drop off survey (4800 questionnaires, 14 % response rate) and, overall, heat (coupled with humidity) was the third most important reason for emigration after ‘moving closer to family and friends’ and ‘high local living costs’, both being about 15 % more important than heat. We found a strong age-effect. For young people employment was the main reason for intended emigration. Heat became more important than employment as a reason to emigrate for people 50 years and older, and was the most important reason to leave in the oldest age bracket (> 69 years).

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102465
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalSustainable Cities and Society
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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