Environmental Refugees: Demographic and Other Resources

December 19, 2007

Covering how environmental issues can influence population patterns often really comes down to numbers - and demographers often have just the numbers that journalists need.

Conversely, settlement and growth patterns can contribute to environmental vulnerability - for example when increasing numbers of people settle in low-lying coastal areas.

Here are some key resources for finding studies and statistics that can lead to intriguing human angles on environmental stories:

  • In the US, the Population Association of America is the leading professional association for demographers. Contact them to find members with expertise in environmental migration, or in your region. Contact: Mary Jo Hoeksema, 202-939-5456.
  • The US Census Bureau can supply detailed statistics on the US population (including immigrants). However, this data generally doesn't indicate why people are where they are in the US.
  • Environmental migration - whether due to climate change or Superfund sites - can also affect housing prices, as described in this May 2006 paper published in Land Economics.
  • For still more population and demographic resources, see this resource list from the Penn State Population Research Institute.