To study this climate-migration impact chain, and to answer the 3 research questions, the research team is conducting fieldwork in the Marshall Islands (completed), Hawaiʻi (completed), and the continental US using innovative social science methods to assess local perceptions of climate change and migration.
The source areas we investigated in this study are all located in the Marshall Islands. Fieldwork took place in March/April 2017. A total of 200 households were surveyed in three sites: Majuro, Maloelap Atoll, and Mejit Island.
People from these locations migrate internally or internationally. It is important to note that Majuro is a source area for international migrants and, at the same time, a destination area for internal migrants from outer islands.
The two outer islands were selected as the researchers felt they represent an important difference between a very low-lying atoll (Maloelap), which is highly exposed to sea level rise, and a relatively higher island (Mejit) that is slightly less exposed. Secondly, in the more Northern islands of RMI, migration patterns have been influenced very significantly by nuclear testing, radiation, and compensation payments.
The study sites we will investigate as destination areas are Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Northwest of the continental US.
Within Hawaiʻi, fieldwork took place on two islands: Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. The main reason for choosing these two sites is that – according to census data – most Marshallese migrants have settled on these islands.