27th Käte Hamburger Lecture, U. Duisburg-Essen

Title:  Age Structures and State Behaviour: A Political Demographer’s Guide to the Future in National and International Politics

Abstract: Whether their responsibilities cover foreign assistance, diplomacy or defense, policymakers and their staffs regularly seek out realistic assessments of future trends in states and regions upon which they focus. In 2006, as part of its Global Trends publications effort, analysts at the US National Intelligence Council began to explore the possibility of producing ‘timed statistical forecasts’ by coupling theories from age-structural political demography with the UN Population Division’s demographic projections. The effort has produced easily-communicated graphical models that can be regenerated and tested, and forecasts that have regularly out-performed conventional analyses by country and regional experts. Although limited in scope, these simple demographic models provide fresh insights into the expected timing of the rise of specific political, social, and economic indicators (including liberal democracy; civil conflict; and discrete levels of per-capita income, educational attainment, and child survival) among modern states—some of which disagree with conventional wisdom.

The lecture summarizes the methods and findings of the recent Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics (2017) article entitled “The Age-structural Theory of State Behavior“.

Speaker: Richard Cincotta

Date: Nov. 22, 2017, Time: 18:30-20h
 University of Duisburg-Essen, Room LS 105, Lotharstr. 53, 47057 Duisburg

National Academy of Sciences, SBS/Decadal Survey: White Paper on Political Demography

WHITE PAPER: Assessing Political Demography’s Potential Application to Foreign Policy, Defense, and Intelligence Analyses

Authors: Richard Cincotta, Jack A. Goldstone and Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba

This white paper describes ongoing progress in political demography and its contributions to foreign affairs analysis, defense planning, and intelligence analysis. Political demography—“the study of the size, composition, and distribution of the population in relation to both government and politics” (Weiner and Teitelbaum, 2001)—has accumulated a substantial body of descriptive and predictive theory over the past 50 years. Although slow and discontinuous during much of that history, the field has more recently begun to coalesce, as evidenced by a spike in publication of works in the field and the creation of the Political Demography & Geography Section of the International Studies Association.

To continue, download full paper

To visit the National Academies’ Social and Behavioral Sciences Decadal Survey on National Security web page, click here.



NIC Global Trends: Paradox of Progress

Political demography has become a fixture in the (U.S.) National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends publications (see the NIC’s latest addition to the GT series, “Paradox of Progress”, pages 161-167; as well as sections in Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World; and Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. Nonetheless, we are still far from the day when young analysts in the US intelligence community routinely consider political demography’s “7 basic rules” as essential analytical tools.


ISA Political Demography & Geography Section

For those interested in pursuing political demographic topics, the International Studies Association (ISA) supports a thriving section of political demographers and political geographers called the “Political Demography and Geography Section” (PDG). The newly elected chair of PDG is Jennifer Sciubba (Associate Prof. of International Relations, Rhodes College), a former defense analyst at the US Department of Defense, Policy Program Office.  For those interested, visit the ISA website, and look for PDG.