Economic, Political Factors Increase Conflict Risk More Than Environmental, Demographic Ones, Argue Experts

New ECSP Report Article Finds Population Growth, Density Related to Conflict But Outweighed by Income, Stability

Mar 12, 2009

In their new article, "Climate Change, Demography, Environmental Degradation, and Armed Conflict," Clionadh Raleigh and Henrik Urdal find that population growth and density are related to increased civil conflict, but that demographic and environmental factors are generally outweighed by political and economic ones. Therefore, they call for "paying greater attention to how resources are distributed and how political institutions create vulnerability to climate change."

"The GDP of a state…and political instability of a state have a much stronger effect on whether an area will see armed conflict than whether there was degradation or relative or absolute scarcity" of a natural resource, says Raleigh, a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, in a short video preview now playing on ECSP's YouTube Channel. Raleigh and Urdal examined geo-referenced data from 1990 to 2004 to determine which variables had the strongest influence on civil conflict.

Raleigh, Urdal, and five other demographic experts analyze the links connecting population and environmental dynamics to conflict in a set of commentaries on New Directions in Demographic Security.

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Related Links

Experts & Staff

  • Roger-Mark De Souza // Director of Population, Environmental Security and Resilience, Wilson Center
  • Sandeep Bathala // Senior Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Katharine Diamond // Program Assistant, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Benjamin Dills // Program Assistant, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Lauren Herzer // Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • John Thon Majok // Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Schuyler Null // Web Editor and Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Meaghan Parker // Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Sean Peoples // Multimedia Producer and Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Geoffrey D. Dabelko // Senior Advisor, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Ruth Greenspan Bell // Public Policy Scholar
  • William Krist // Senior Policy Scholar
  • Louise Lief // Public Policy Scholar
  • John W. Sewell // Senior Scholar