Skip to main content


Wu, Yu; Entwisle, Barbara; Sinai, Cyrus; & Handa, Sudhanshu (2021). Migration and Fuel Use in Rural Zambia. Population and Environment, 43(2), 181-208. PMCID: PMC8682914


What is the effect of migration on fuel use in rural Zambia? Opportunities to increase income can be scarce in this setting; in response, households may pursue a migration strategy to increase resources as well as to mitigate risk. Migrant remittances may make it possible for households to shift from primary reliance on firewood to charcoal, and the loss of productive labor through migration may reinforce this shift. This paper uses four waves of panel data collected as part of the Child Grant Programme in rural Zambia to examine the connection between migration and the choice of firewood or charcoal as cooking fuel and finds evidence for both mechanisms. Importantly, this paper considers migration as a process, including out as well as return migration, embedding it in the context of household dynamics generally. Empirical results suggest that while out-migration helps move households away from firewood as a fuel source, return migration moves them back, but because the former is more common, the overall effect of migration is to shift households away from primary reliance on firewood.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Population and Environment


Wu, Yu
Entwisle, Barbara
Sinai, Cyrus
Handa, Sudhanshu

Article Type




Data Set/Study

Child Grant Programme




Entwisle - 0000-0003-0131-1022