Population Age Structure and Its Relation to Civil Conflict: A Graphic Metric

By
Richard Cincotta and Elizabeth Leahy Madsen

Recent studies suggest that a large “youth bulge”—a youthful population age structure—can increase the risk of the onset of civil conflict and political violence (Urdal, 2006, Cincotta et al., 2003). These studies exclude states with a recent history of civil conflict, reasoning that they are already highly vulnerable to persistent and re-emerging violence (Collier et al., 2002). Can these two quantifiable variables—population age structure and recent history of civil unrest—be used to project risks of civil conflict a decade into the future?

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