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Hurricane Strikes and Migration Evidence from Storms in Central America and the Caribbean

Spencer, Nekeisha and Urquhart, Mikhail-Ann

Nekeisha Omellia Spencer

Weather, Climate, and Society






This study estimates the impact of hurricanes on migration from 30 Central American and Caribbean countries to the United States from 1989 to 2005. In contrast to previous studies, hurricane destruction indices are employed to study the relationship of hurricanes and migration. These indices measure geographical destruction, which gives a more comprehensive and accurate view of the damage and impact that hurricanes have on the movement of people to international destinations. Controlling for the host country’s migrant stock and the home country’s income, country fixed-effects estimation shows that hurricanes have a positive impact on the ratio of the number of migrants to the home country’s population. On average, hurricanes increase migration by roughly 6%, but the impact is greater for more damaging storms. Estimating the geographical effects reveals that the size of this impact varies across countries. The most damaging storms are related to an increase up to 540% in the...

American Meteorological Society


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