This report examines likely future population movements from the microstates of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. These independent states are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, yet their citizens have limited migration opportunities, be they domestic or international. The report explores the factors that will influence migration decisions, as well as the social and economic impacts of future migration. It also examines the implications for migration were a natural disaster, such as a cyclone, to affect the urban centre of one of these countries.
The decision to migrate is based on a range of push and pull factors, which can be economic, social or cultural. In a small island state with limited resources that faces overpopulation, pressures to migrate are influenced strongly by the collective actions of the rest of the population. So too are opportunities overseas, both real and perceived. The presence of an overseas diaspora is well-known to encourage migration. Pressures at home and perceived benefits and risks associated with migration ultimately determine whether an individual or household member migrates. Australia and New Zealand are clearly the preferred migration destination for I-Kiribati, Nauruans and Tuvaluans.