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International Retirement Migration from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean: New Results on the Role of Climate with a Possible Application to Climate Change
A great deal of climate change research focuses on forced migration as a response to sea level rise and the loss of livelihoods. By contrast much less research considers altered patterns of amenity led international retirement migration as a response to climate change. An increase in the number of individuals reaching retirement age and improvements in life expectancy combined with changes serving to reduce the cost of international migration have increased sharply the number of individuals choosing to retire abroad. This phenomenon has a range of socioeconomic and political implications not least in terms of the provision of public goods and services. Despite difficulties in defining ‘international retirement migration’ surveys suggest that climate is the main push and pull factor. As such, the pattern of international retirement migration is potentially impacted by climate change. Using regression analysis this chapter analyses cross country data for 2005 on the stock of individuals living abroad entitled to a UK state pension in each of 210 different countries. The analysis reveals that international retirement migration is higher in countries with warmer winters and cooler summers, and with less precipitation and more sunshine. Climate however seems less important than whether a country has former colonial links with the UK and whether English is widely spoken.