Life Begins After 25: Demography and the Societal Timing of the Arab Spring

Read “Life Begins after 25: Demography and the Societal Timing of the Arab Spring” by Richard Cincotta, published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, January 2012.

Writing in Foreign Affairs, political scientist Gregory Gausse recounts how regional specialists, like himself, overestimated the strength and cohesiveness of North Africa’s autocracies, as well as the depth of personal allegiances available to these authoritarians among their military’s highest ranks. Little, if any, mention has been made, however, of an article describing the relationship between demography and democracy (“How Democracies Grow Up”) that was printed on the pages of Foreign Policy in March of 2008—more than two-and-a-half years before pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets in Tunisia—nor of an article published by the Woodrow Wilson Center (“Half a Chance“), published in early 2009. In those essays, I describe a simple model driven by population age structure (the distribution of population by age) that can be used to statistically forecast democratization, with reasonable success.


Whither the Demographic Arc of Instability

Read “Whither the Demographic Arc of Instability?“, an essay by Richard Cincotta featured on the Stimson Center Spotlight, November 2011.

One map that quickly garnered the attention of strategists outlined the world’s weak and politically fractious states – a pattern that came to be known as the “arc of instability” (Map 1, for 2000). Inside the arc, authoritarian governments ruled with little regard for law, insurgencies undermined economic hopes, and militant organizations capable of international terror, some linked to Al Qaida, were equipped and trained. Outside the arc existed a world of modern industrial and service economies, globalized communications, and trade.

Download “Whither the Demographic Arc of Instability? ” here … 

Holding on to the One-Child Policy: China’s Demographic Trade-off

Read “Holding on to the One-Child Policy: China’s Demographic Trade-off” by Richard Cincotta, from the Stimson Spotlight, January 2011.

Demographers in China and abroad were surprised when, after weeks of contentious interagency debate in March, 2008, China’s State Birth Planning Committee recommended that the central government extend its population policy for yet another decade. The policy’s current framework is set in China’s 2001 Birth Planning Law, which demographers have labeled the “1.5 child policy”–a liberalized version of the One Child Policy (OCP), which was first formulated in 1979 and applied during the early 1980s.

Download “Holding On to the One-Child Policy” here … 

Can Demography Save Afghanistan?

Read “Can Demography Save Afghanistan?” by Richard Cincotta, published by Foreign Policy, Nov. 16, 2009.

Picture Afghanistan two decades from now. Difficult? Not really — if you’re a demographer.
The two agencies that independently publish population estimates — the U.N. Population
Division and the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Programs Center — routinely project an
array of demographic statistics for the world’s nearly 200 countries on a time-frame of
decades. Until now, the U.S. and U.N. agencies closely matched one another’s projections
for an Afghanistan-to-be. Not anymore. The U.N. believes Afghanistan’s population (around
28 million today) will pass the 50 million mark by 2030, whereas the Census Bureau foresees
a 2030 population under 43 million.

Download “Can Demography Save Afghanistan?” here …