We argue that all aspects of demographic change, including migration, impact on the social resilience of individuals and communities, as well as on the sustainability of the underlying resource base. Social resilience is the ability to cope with and adapt to environmental and social change mediated through appropriate institutions. We investigate one aspect of the relationship between demographic change, social resilience, and sustainable development in contemporary coastal Vietnam: the effects of migration and remittances on resource-dependent communities in population source areas. We find, using longitudinal data on livelihood sources, that emigration and remittances have offsetting effects on resilience within an evolving social and political context. Emigration is occurring concurrently with, not driving, the expansion of unsustainable coastal aquaculture. Increasing economic inequality also undermines social resilience. At the same time diversification and increasing income levels are beneficial for resilience.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4