Why Population Matters to Security

Demographic trends influence political stability and security. Over the past several decades, countries in which at least 60 percent of the population is younger than 30 have been more likely to experience outbreaks of conflict than countries with a more even age distribution. Countries with very young age structures, in which at least two-thirds of the population is younger than 30, have a consistently growing group of young people entering the labor market and seeking opportunities. With sound policies, this can be a benefit. But it can also challenge a government’s capacity to provide sufficient jobs, education and resources for its population, and can increase the likelihood of conflict.