Climate change adaptation responses and human mobility in the Mekong Delta: local perspectives from rural households in An Giang Province, Vietnam

Mucahid Mustafa Bayrak*, Tran Van Hieu, Thong Anh Tran, Yi Ya Hsu, Tung Nien, Dang Thi Thanh Quynh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change influences the adaptation responses and mobility patterns of smallholder farmers across multiple scales. This study employed an inductive approach to observe smallholder farmers in An Giang Province in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta to compare the effects of various environmental and climate-related stressors on households with and without contributing migrant household members and on households of different income levels in two rural communes. We looked into the roles that adaptation responses and human mobility patterns play in the daily livelihoods of (translocal) households. We adopted a mixed-methods approach, which involved the administration of a livelihood survey among households in two rural communes (N = 106) and, subsequently, two focus group discussions, unstructured in-depth interviews, and secondary data analysis. We discovered that human mobility, adaptation responses, and climate change are interwoven in a web of complex relationships. No clear differences in effects and climate adaptation responses were discovered between emigrant and nonemigrant households. Hence, paradigms that either portray migration as a failure to adapt or as a form of adaptation in the context of climate change do not adequately explain the findings of this study. Differences between income groups were, however, observed. Relative to other income groups, middle-income farmers were disproportionally affected by climate-related disasters. Additionally, out-migration, aging, upstream hydropower development, and COVID-19 lockdowns posed significant challenges to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The compound effects of these multiple stressors indicate that human mobility, climate change and adaptation patterns should be best approached as ‘wicked’ problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number344
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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