Decision-Making Factor Interactions Influencing Climate Migration: A Systems-Based Systematic Review
Global migration and mobility dynamics are expected to shift in the coming decades under climate change. Climate migrant estimates are often criticised for overlooking the complex and interlinked
factors that influence migration, focusing too explicitly on climate hazards alone. We conduct a systematic literature review to identify and consolidate economic, environmental, demographic, political, and social climate migration decision-making factors, and their linkages, offering a synthesis of multidisciplinary research in the climate migration field from a systems perspective. Using purposive text analysis of causal relationships described in existing literature, we evaluate the strength of evidence for directional relationships between different factors that influence migration. In total, 21 factors were identified as leading influences of climate migration. Using causal loop diagramming – a qualitative form of system dynamics modelling – we then map the linkages between migration factors while identifying influential feedback loops to synthesise the ways in which decision factors interact in climate migration systems, as conceptualised by existing literature. This review answers calls to consolidate the body of knowledge on migration factor dynamics and aids in the identification of key feedback loops as potential leverage points. We highlight economic factors such as financial capital and livelihoods, as well as food security, as points where interventions are best directed to stabilise climate migration systems. These results help inform climate migration policy and aid planners in the future to better understand the interconnected system of factors that lead to the emergent outcome of climate migration.