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Climate Change and Human Migration

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.


Why Does Migration Occur?

Human and animal migration on Earth has always been influenced by the need to search for new food sources as old sources were exhausted. More modern migration factors in the last few hundred years add wars, changes in government regimes, changes in job markets, and most recently, increases in natural disasters and climate change.

New areas of the planet may become uninhabitable as deserts spread and oceans rise. Already, the shores of Alaska have eroded to cause native groups to move 60 miles inland, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in May 2022. The New Jersey shoreline has been losing acreage as well, according to CBS New York in June 2022.

A coworker of mine visited the site of his childhood home in New Jersey in 1998 and found that the shoreline had already eroded enough to leave his old neighborhood under water.

Since the first Earth Day in April 1970, increasing awareness and activism surrounding climate change and its effect on human migration have burgeoned. Related research projects and papers during 2000 through 2020 have gone from dozens to about 600 (Singh, R.,; Lyon, C.,

The height of such professional and lay interest peaked from 2016 through 2020 as some top American leaders strongly denied climate change and withdrew from both the Paris Accords and Kyoto Protocol.

The literature clearly shows that the main reasons behind the migration are natural disaster (with climate change), lack of natural resources and poor economic condition.

— Singh, R.;; 2022

Since the Industrial Revolution began, pollution from the machines of industry and war have harmed the global environment. In addition, humans have moved from city to city and country to country to follow emergent industries that created increased jobs in new places.

Examples are the shiploads of folks from Ireland and England sailing to America for work in the mid-1800s, the American Gold Rush of 1849, the rush to Alaska in the later 20th century to drill for oil, the large influx of workers and their families to the Central Ohio area in response to the largest electronics complex in the world (INTEL) built and expanded beginning in 2022, and war in Ukraine forcing thousands of people to other countries.

Continuing crises in food production/distribution and climate change are expected to be problems beyond 2100, the same benchmark for the global shortage of healthcare workers to begin to wane, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

World Migration Report 2022 showed that 281,000,000 people (3.60% of the world's population) migrated in 2020.

Top 10 Most Populous Nations (July 1, 2022)

  1. China 1,410,539,758
  2. India 1,389,637,446
  3. United States 332,838,183
  4. Indonesia 277,329,163
  5. Pakistan 242,923,845
  6. Nigeria 225,082,0832
  7. Brazil 17,240,0603
  8. Bangladesh 165,650,4754
  9. Russia 142,021,9815
  10. Mexico 129,150,971

Change in World Populations by 2050

U.S. Census and UN Statistics

In the year 2050, the Top 10 Populated Countries are expected to be:

  1. India 1,628,000,000 (1.628 billion). Will surpass China.
  2. China 1,437,000,000 (1.437 billion). Drops to second place.
  3. United States 420,000,000
  4. Nigeria 299,000,000. Rises from sixth place.
  5. Pakistan 295,000,000
  6. Indonesia 285,000,000. Drops from fourth place
  7. Brazil 260,000,000
  8. Bangladesh 231,000,000
  9. Democratic Republic of Congo 183,000,000. Surpasses Russia.
  10. Ethiopia 145,000,000. Surpasses Mexico.

National Population Clocks Available Online

Check population statistics on several continents:

USA Is the #3 nation in Global Population Size

USA Is the #3 nation in Global Population Size

Top 10 Most Populous U.S. States (Census 2020)

Florida has moved up in population rank, as have Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina. New York, Illinois, and Michigan have declined in ranking.

State NameCensus2010Census2020

1. California



2. Texas



3. New York



4. Florida


21,538,187 (Now 3rd place)

5. Illinois


12,801,989 (Now 6th place)

6. Pennsylvania


13,002,700 (Now 5th place)

7. Ohio



8. Michigan


10,077,331 (Now 10th place)

9. Georgia



10. North Carolina



Overwhelming Data

In researching the current populations of the nations of the world, one finds conflicting data on the Internet. Some of this data is available from the CIA World Factbook. Other figures come from United Nations estimates. Still others originate with the U.S. Census Bureau.

While the United States government and private sectors can boast of some of the world's leading scientists, mathematicians and statisticians, this fact does not mean that America has accurate access to the numbers of all people living in all foreign countries. This fact is borne out in the conflicting data found.

However, there is enough information available, and the population clocks are excellent in providing some convincing evidence of population sizes and growth trends.

Seal/Coat of Arms of Asgardia

Seal/Coat of Arms of Asgardia

Asgard, the First Nation in Space

Should people move off planet Earth? I joined an outer space community!

Dr, Igor Ashurbeyli founded the world's first independent nation in outer space in October 2016, named Asgardia. It launched its first satellite in November 2017 to the International Space Station with the data on over 114,000 citizens of Earth willing to move to outer space to live on the Asgardia space nation station.

Its construction is set to begin in the late 2020s. The satellite Asgard-1 was routed to Low Earth Orbit to remain as Asgardia until the larger space station is completed.

By October 2022, the space nation had 1.1 million citizens, all still living on Earth, but looking forward to the nation's space station.

To the Moon and Mars

Whatever the most accurate numbers for the leading top 20 nations in population, it is a certainty that the world is filling up with people. If it continues to do so, it will one day be able to support no more people—not even one more.

This has been the topic of science fiction and science research for decades.

The Flag of Mars. Chosen for the future of Mars Exploration

The Flag of Mars. Chosen for the future of Mars Exploration

Life on the Moon

In the 1980s, a group of doctors in my home state of Ohio drew up a proposal for a Medical Moon Base for chronic victims of uncontrollable hypertension and related maladies. Inhabitants of such a base might include a lot of people, acting as an escape valve to siphon off some of the populations of Earth.

On the Moon, with only 1/5 the gravity of our home planet, blood pressures would decrease for these patients. However, they might not be able to get back to Earth, because returning, if they survived the G-forces of re-entry, would raise their blood pressures so quickly and dramatically that they would likely suffer strokes.

At the same time as this proposal, other interested parties decided that the Moon should become a penal colony just as Australia was when formed and first settled by prisoners.

This is likely not a workable solution to overpopulation. However, a good story about the possibility is the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein, first published in 1966. It is also about about the penal colony's revolt against the Earth government, filled with interesting and libertarian views, as well as an English language laced with Russian terms.

Written in the middle of the Cold War, ...Harsh Mistress was a pointed conceptual focus—colonies combining elements from former enemies for survival on a new world. It is a good piece of science fiction with an interesting ending. It won the HUGO award for Sci-Fi.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS