Climate, conflict, and Honduran migration
High levels of violence and sharp increases in food insecurity are driving families to the U.S.
Apprehensions of family units from Honduras arriving at the U.S. southern border grew exponentially between 2012 and 2019, from 513 to 188,368 (the dashed line in Figure 1). While it is possible that Biden administration policies and COVID-19 alter the calculus of migrants, they did not cause the sharp increase in apprehensions in 2019. This also predates hurricanes Eta and Iota, although the devastating toll of these November 2020 storms is likely to push more people to leave their homes and travel north.
Our work at Duke University and the University of Virginia, summarized in this policy brief, points to an interaction of climate factors and violence as the drivers of this outcome. The increase in migration from Honduras over the last several years and the growing proportion of migrants arriving as family units is driven by persistently high levels of violence coupled with sharp increases in food insecurity.