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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new study concludes that rising temperatures have trimmed rural-to-urban migration within very poor nations while slightly increasing it in middle-income countries.

Why it matters: The analysis, released via the National Bureau of Economic Research, provides a deeper understanding about how warming has already begun affecting human movement — and will in the future.

The impact: "We project that expected warming in the next century will encourage further urbanization in middle-income countries such as Argentina, but it will slow down urban transition in poor countries like Malawi and Niger."

What they did: Researchers with UC Davis and the University of Idaho looked at migration data for huge numbers of relatively small geographic "cells" worldwide from 1970 to 2000.

  • They combined it with other data on temperatures, population and precipitation in the same regions.
  • They broke up countries into 3 wide groups: nations in the bottom 25% of per capita GDP, the middle 50%, and the top 25%.

What they found: The middle-income group showed the most internal migration to cities. A big takeaway: Declines in rural productivity, including lower crop yields stemming from climate change, have different effects on poor vs. middle-income nations.

  • Why? They see a vicious cycle in very poor places: Hotter temperatures cut rural productivity, making migration costs even less feasible.
  • "On the other hand, rising temperatures increase out-migration from rural areas in middle-income countries because temperature shocks widen the rural-urban income gaps, which work to strengthen individuals’ incentives to migrate, once they can pay for migration costs," the study states.

Go deeper: Youth protests sweep the globe demanding action on climate change

Go deeper

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.