Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level





Edward C. Holland

Committee Member

Aaron M. Shew

Second Committee Member

Lawton Lanier Nalley


Bangladesh, borders, climate change, coastal zone, migration, risk perception, South Asian Studies


Coastal Bangladesh is subject to extreme climate change forces upon poor, rural populations. The aim of this thesis is to determine the strength of environmental drivers of migration and discern whether planned or catastrophic migration predominates in the polder areas of Bangladesh. I use regression analysis on a 1,025 household, 2016 IRRI/IWMI analysis of Polder 28/1, 28/2, and 30 within Satkhira district to determine factor correlations with migration. Progressive salinization is the strongest environmental driver, while flooding decreases migration through trapping household capital investment. Religion has the greatest correlation with migration. Hindus migrate less frequently, but do so with more education and more permanently. Muslim populations tend to migrate cyclically, taking low-paying agriculture work. Muslim minorities in the study area exhibit characteristics of being a trapped population. The history of cross-border migration to India and its religious dimension currently impacts India's changing citizenship policy amidst a narrowing human rights corridor. Shared ethno-religious, socioeconomic, and environmental risk proximities explain why West Bengal offers a vastly different reception to Bangladeshi immigrants than Assam. I conclude with a brief discussion of how global climate migration is connected with food insecurity, increased border militarization, and the recent rise of nativist authoritarianism.