Physiological costs of undocumented human migration across the southern United States border

Shane C. Campbell-Staton, Reena H. Walker, Savannah A. Rogers, Jason De León, Hannah Landecker, Warren Porter, Paul D. Mathewson, Ryan A. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Political, economic, and climatic upheaval can result inmass human migration across extreme terrain in search of more humane living conditions, exposing migrants to environments that challenge human tolerance. An empirical understanding of the biological stresses associated with these migrations will play a key role in the development of social, political, and medical strategies for alleviating adverse effects and risk of death. We model physiological stress associated with undocumented migration across a commonly traversed section of the southern border of the United States and find that locations of migrant death are disproportionately clustered within regions of greatest predicted physiological stress (evaporative water loss). Minimum values of estimated evaporative water loss were sufficient to cause severe dehydration and associated proximate causes of mortality. Integration of future climate predictions into models increased predicted physiological costs of migration by up to 34.1% over the next 30 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1496-1500
Number of pages5
Issue number6574
StatePublished - Dec 17 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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