Defusing the Population Bomb: Is Security a Rationale for Reducing Global Population Growth?

By
Henrik Urdal

My analysis found that population growth, land scarcity, and urbanization do not greatly influence patterns of war and peace (see Table 1 for a summary). The national-level relationship between population-induced scarcity and conflict identified by several case studies does not seem to represent a strong general trend among countries over time. However, there were a few exceptions: countries experiencing high population growth and density in the 1970s were indeed more likely to suffer an outbreak of domestic armed conflict. In addition, further research may moderate these findings: for example, using local level data—rather than national—might reveal a stronger relationship between population pressure and conflict.

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