Migration decisions entail complex intersections between social and cultural identities, economic conditions, and environmental changes. Information about how these factors intersect is limited for Arctic Native communities. Existing studies have not been able to definitively link current patterns of migration to climate change, noting a large number of push-and-pull factors with climate only one among many in a place where both seasonal or permanent migration have been a long-standing pattern. Migration may take place at the individual, household/family, or community level, and is intimately connected to livelihoods, sustainability, and economic conditions.
Individuals may migrate seeking better economic opportunities, leaving other family members behind to continue local livelihood practices. With few exceptions, Arctic migration studies have not examined patterns by individual-level characteristics such as age and gender despite their known significance in similar subsistence communities. Migration may be a family decision and process in Alaskan communities or whole villages may consider collective relocation. Much remains to be determined about how age, gender, and household level factors influence the processes of individual, family, and community decision-making that go into these deliberations.