This paper discusses the effects of long-term environmental change (represented by the abundance or scarcity relative to the long-term average level of crop yield/river flow) and short-term environmental shock (represented by the maximum number of consecutive years below the median crop yield/river flow per decade) on population redistribution in Mexico and Ethiopia. Crop production and water resources, which are affected by climate change and influence human survival and activities, were selected as research variables. Two developing countries, namely, Mexico and Ethiopia, were selected as comparison cases. The results showed that short-term environmental shocks had no correlation with population redistribution. Short-term environmental shocks might fail to influence migration decisions or cause only temporary displacements that cannot be detected by demographic statistics. Among the long-term environmental change factors, only crop yield deviation was found to have a significant positive correlation with population redistribution. Based on two different datasets and two different decades, crop yield deviation is positively correlated with population redistribution; the correlation coefficients between crop yield deviation and population redistribution were 0.134 to 0.162 in Mexico and 0.102 to 0.235 in Ethiopia. When urbanization was considered as the control variable, the correlation coefficient between crop yield deviation and population redistribution in Mexico dropped by half, while it was almost the same in Ethiopia. However, Ethiopia’s population redistribution was more clearly influenced by the population itself. Crop yield deviation relative to water flow deviation meant changes in livelihoods. Population redistribution is a possible means of adapting to changes in livelihood. Mexico exhibited high resilience to changes in livelihoods caused by long-term environmental change, especially in its densely populated areas. In contrast, Ethiopia was characterized mainly by high population growth and low population migration. People in some areas of Ethiopia were forced to endure hardship of livelihood deterioration or to stay where they were due to the difficulty of obtaining sufficient resources to afford the cost of migration.
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