Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Demography and Instability in the Developing World

Demography and Instability in the Developing World

Demography provides a framework for analyzing the effect of population on national security and a tool to assess how demographic trends in the developing world will influence conflict over the next twenty years. Population is connected to national security as an indicator of challenge and opportunity, a multiplier of conflict and progress, and a resource for power and prosperity. This indicator-multiplier-resource framework is then applied to the three influential demographic issues of the developing world: (1) youthful populations; (2) transitional age structures; and (3) urbanization. These diverse demographic trends reveal a growing divergence among states in the developing world and the need to continue to plan for the spectrum of warfare, though there will be an increasing number of supportive and capable states.

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