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This website is dedicated to political demography, and to The Age-structural Theory of State Behavior (download article here). Read "The 8 Rules" for a quick summary of the theory. See sidebar (homepage) for key publications and web essays. Please follow the development of this research on Twitter at @rpCincotta or visit the New Security Beat.
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Rather than delve into issue opinion polling, or assess presidential campaign strategies, political demographers assume that political change is the predictable product of a set of mutually reinforcing social, economic, and demographic transitions, which can be tracked using data. But is this true in a country like the United States that has been in the advanced stages of these development transitions for decades? If these transitions are as important as demographers believe, could their variation among the 50 states explain the outcome of the recent U.S. presidential election? If so, what could they tell us about America’s electoral future?
My attempt to answer these questions begins with a brief discussion of the CNN exit polling during the 2016 presidential election and ends with an analysis of the 2020 state results. Given what has already been said about the Democratic Party’s appeal among college-educated Americans and the Republican Party’s appeal among rural Americans, the basic conclusions are not surprising. What I find surprising is the ability of these individual party strengths, almost by themselves, to divide America’s states into a hard-to-change red and blue pattern. ….. (continue)
“Population Age Structure: The Hidden Factor in COVID-19 Mortality”
Until several months ago, demographers regarded a youthful age structure as an unequivocally detrimental demographic characteristic. Where more than half of the population is younger than age 25, countries are unable to attain high levels of economic and human capital development and face an increased risk of some forms of civil conflict. Yet, so far, during the ongoing pre-vaccine stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most age-structurally mature countries have been hardest hit by the disease. These countries are generally urbanized, wealthy, well-educated, and include a large proportion of seniors. And, somewhat surprisingly—despite being equipped with advanced medical technologies—these countries are experiencing the highest rates of mortality from complications related to COVID-19. See more …
This new web essay (on the NSB website <click here>) reviews research that uses the relatively rapid changes in Botswana’s age-specific fertility rates to produce a “Botswana historic fertility variant” and applies this projection to the populations of countries in the Western Sahel—a contiguous cluster of states with populations that remain at the early stages of the fertility transition. For these high-fertility countries, projections of this variant (up to the year 2050) fall roughly around the TFR trajectory the UN low fertility variant.
This exercise provides a glimpse of what could possibly be achieved in some states in tropical Africa by emulating Botswana’s efforts to ramp up access to family planning, to decrease the frequency of teen pregnancies, and to increase girls’ educational attainment. However, the essay notes how different the Sahelian countries are from Botswana—a well-governed, resource-endowed southern African country with a relatively small, urbanized (>65%) population (2.3 million)—and thus the formidable challenges those differences present in attempting to replicate the pace of Botswana’s fertility transition.
For the full essay, go to the NSB website <click here>
Or, download the essay <click here to download>
Site of the world’s most rapid completion of the fertility transition
Read the background story of Iran’s political demography from the online library of PoliticalDemography.org:
- Iran’s Demographic Future and Its Implications (Cincotta & Sadjadpour, Dec. 2017, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).
- Uncomfortable Companions: Fertility and Ideology in Iran. (Cincotta, 2018, New Security Beat).
- Iran: The Clash of Ideology and Development. (Cincotta, 2012, Foreign Policy Research Institute).
- Iran’s Chinese Future (Cincotta, 2009, Foreign Policy)
Demography’s theoretical end-state is a set of hard-to-escape conditions typified by low and often sub-replacement levels of fertility, large proportions of retirees, and an aging workforce—an endpoint that the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends reports refer to as post-maturity. The shift toward post-maturity is so unrelenting in parts of Europe and East Asia that some analysts imagine humanity plunging globally into post-maturity. However, this scenario, which I call “Post-mature World,” is looking much less likely than its non-endpoint alternative (see Figure 1), a chronically demographically “Polarized World.”