November 1st, 2011 | Posted in Youth
by Richard Cincotta, Wilson Center
From a demographic perspective, the global distribution of intrastate conflicts is not what it used to be. During the latter half of the 20th century, the states with the most youthful populations (median age of 25.0 years or less) were consistently the most at risk of being engaged in civil or ethnoreligious conflict (circumstances where either ethnic or religious factors, or both, come into play). However, this tight relationship has loosened over the past decade, with the propensity of conflict rising significantly for countries with intermediate age structures (median age 25.1 to 35.0 years) and actually dipping for those with youthful age structures.
- Over the last two decades, the deployment of peace support operations to countries with youthful populations has surged (described in a previous post on New Security Beat); and
- Ethnoreligious conflicts have gradually, though noticeably, increased among a group of states with a median age greater than 25.0 years (including Thailand, Turkey, and Russia).
Countries represented by the latter trend share a demographic arrangement known as a “persistent minority youth bulge” – a rapidly growing, age-structurally youthful minority that is politically dissonant and regionally or residentially segregated within a more mature country-level population.
National level comparisons of total fertility rates tend to communicate the false impression of a world with demographically homogeneous states. When available, sub-national data present a very different picture.
Read the rest of this post at The New Security Beat.