Floods are a major source of human displacement, but variation in displacement levels across contexts remains poorly understood. Using high-resolution data on flood events worldwide, 2000 to 2018, we analyze the moderating influence of core societal characteristics on displacement. Results reveal that floods have potential to generate much higher displacement numbers in contexts of high population exposure, low level of development, nondemocratic governance, and prevalence of armed conflict. However, these factors contribute little to the models’ ability to accurately predict displacement outcomes on new data, pointing to complex causality and critical data limitations. Further scientific progress in this field would benefit from more systematic data collection and better analytical appreciation of displacement as multidimensional behavior that can both increase and mitigate risk.
Vestby, Jonas; Sebastian Schutte; Andreas Forø Tollefsen & Halvard Buhaug (2024) Societal determinants of flood-induced displacement, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 121 (3).