Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 83

Arctic Yearbook 2014 83 migration in the Arctic, followed by a comparative look at migration across the region, followed by a region-by-region analysis of migration across each Arctic region. Factors Influencing Migration in the Arctic Migration is defined and usually measured as a permanent change in residence. Migration is referred to as an investment in human capital across space - people migrate in order to improve their quality of life. People migrate to, from, and within the Arctic for the same reasons they migrate elsewhere in the world. The neoclassical economic approach is the oldest theory of migration and holds that income differentials between regions are why people migrate from low-income to high-income regions (Weeks, 2008). Among Arctic regions, and between them and the southern regions of the Arctic countries, there are enormous income differences which drive people to migrate to and from the Arctic. The overall gross regional product (GRP) per capita in the Arctic in 2005 was $30,000 (USD) (Glomsrød & Aslaksen, 2009). In the Khanty-Mansiy okrug of West Siberia and the Northwest Territories of Canada, the GRP was over $70,000 per capita. Using the example of the Russian Arctic, the Khanty-Mansiy okrug is the main region for the oil extraction in Russia which is driving so much of the country’s overall economic growth. The per capita GRP is $65,000 in the Yamal-Nenets okrug in West Siberia, the main region for natural gas production in Russia. Because of the high incomes in these two West Siberian regions, they are the only two regions in the Russian Arctic which have experienced net in-migration in the post-Soviet period, while the rest of the Russian Arctic has had considerable depopulation from out-migration. The per capita GRP in much of the rest of the Russian Arctic is less than $15,000, evidence that two divergent northern economies have developed leading to quite different migration patterns. Incorporating climate change and the impact that it could play in migration in the Arctic is rather new and thus less well-studied, though the body of knowledge is increasing rapidly. The diversity of potential impacts of “climigration” across the world have hindered development of a unified theory and has also lead to a wide variety of policy responses. Climate change can make some Arctic regions more accessible while rendering others nearly uninhabitable because of reduced sea ice destroying coastal communities or thawing permafrost ruining the infrastructure of inland settlements. Many of the coastal communities in Alaska are facing threats from increased erosion and will likely be forced to move their entire communities in the near future but rising costs, bureaucratic inertia, and lack of community consensus as to destinations are preventing movements (Schweitzer & Marino, 2005). Eighty-six percent (184 of 213) of all villages in Alaska are experiencing problems related to flooding and erosion (Harwood, Carson, Marino, & McTurk, 2011). Some of these communities are receiving considerable national and international attention and are held up as poster children for climigration (Arctic Council, 2004). Many of the coastal villages probably should not have been selected as the sites of permanent settlement as the ancestors of the current residents only used these sites seasonally (Bronen & Chapin, 2013). However, decisions were made by the U.S. government in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to consolidate populations into these locations in order to build schools and provide schooling to Native children. Barge accessibility to be able to ship in construction materials was a key factor in site selection. There is currently no agency with the authority to relocate all the public and private infrastructure of   Migration in the Arctic