Projects

CURRENT PROJECTS

Environmental Change and Human Migration in the Developing World
This line of research focuses on the consequences of environmental change for human migration, an issue which has gained considerable attention in the context of global climate change and recent large-scale natural disasters. Using data from a variety of settings, my research with collaborators confirms that environmental factors have important influences on migration, but the results are not consistent with Neo-Malthusian predictions that environmental degradation will universally displace permanent migrants over long distances. Instead, the majority of climate migrants are likely to move temporarily and/or over short distances, and some potential migrants are likely to be trapped in place.
Funding: NIH (R00-HD061752, R03-HD098357)
Trainees: Maia Call, Doug Hopping
Publications: Gray 2011; Gray & Mueller 2012a, Gray & Mueller 2012b, Fussell et al. 2014; Gray et al. 2014; Mueller et al. 2014; Jennings & Gray 2015; Gray & Wise 2016; Thiede et al. 2016; Thiede & Gray 2017; Call et al. 2017; Mueller et al. 2019
Work in progress: Williams & Gray 2015; Call & Gray 2017; Hopping & Gray 2017; Gray et al. 2018
Media: Climate Outreach; Development Impact; IFPRI; The Nation (Pakistan); Nature Climate Change; New Security Beat; Population Reference Bureau; Scientific American; SciLogs; Simple Climate; Slate; Smithsonian Magazine

Climate, Health and Population Well-being
This line of research investigates the consequences of climate variability for multidimensional population well-being across the developing world. By linking longitudinal population data sources to spatial data on climate, this work will provide new insights into the impacts of future climate change on human development.
Funding: NIH (R03-HD083528)
Trainees: Heather Randell, Sandeep Kandikuppa
Publications: Randell & Gray 2016; Jennings & Gray 2017; Randell & Gray 2019; Sellers & Gray 2019
Work in progress: Mueller et al. 2015; Goel et al. 2018; Munshi et al. 2018; Randell et al. 2018
Media: Anthropocene Magazine; Carolina Planning Journal; New Security Beat; New Security Beat 2; UNC

Changing Indigenous Livelihoods and Land Use in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Building on a baseline data collection conducted in 2001, we have constructed an 11-year longitudinal dataset on the demographic and environmental behaviors of 500 indigenous households from five ethnicities in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon. Analyses of these data are investigating the patterns and drivers of indigenous fertility, migration, wild product harvesting, land use and off-farm employment.
Funding: NIH (R00-HD061752)
Trainees: Matt Bozigar, Jason Davis, Vicky Salinas, Sam Sellers
Publications: Gray et al. 2008, Lu et al. 2010, Davis et al. 2015, Gray et al. 2015a, Gray et al. 2015b, Bozigar et al. 2016; Davis et al. 2017
Work in progress: Gray & Bilsborrow 2016; Gray et al. 2016; Thiede & Gray 2017; Sellers & Bilsborrow 2018; Salinas et al. in press
Media: UNC Geography

Soil Degradation and Rural Livelihoods in Uganda
Building on a baseline data collection conducted in 2003, we have constructed a 10-year longitudinal dataset on soil degradation, poverty and rural livelihoods in Uganda covering 700 households and 2000 agricultural plots. Analyses of these data are investigating the patterns, drivers and consequences of soil degradation for agricultural households.
Funding: NSF (BCS-1226817)
Trainees: Maia Call, Leah Bevis, Josh Minai
Publications: Bevis et al. 2017; Call et al. 2019; Bevis & Barrett 2019
Work in progress: Minai 2015; Call & Gray 2017; Bevis & Hestrin 2018
Media: Development Impact; Economics That Really Matters 1; Economics That Really Matters 2

PREVIOUS PROJECTS

Out-Migration and Rural Livelihoods in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes
Using an innovative sampling approach, this project collected retrospective data on migration from 1200 rural households who were linked to spatial data on climate, topography and vegetation. Analyses of these data examined the contribution of environmental factors to internal and international migration, as well as the consequences of migration for rural land use.
Funding: NSF (BCS-0525469), NIH (R21-HD052092)
Publications: Gray 2009a, Gray 2009b, Gray 2010, Gray & Bilsborrow 2013; Gray & Bilsborrow 2014