Henrik Urdal

Research Professor; Editor, Journal of Peace Research

Henrik Urdal
Email: henriku@prio.org
Work phone: 47 22 54 77 20

Research Interests

'Armed Conflict and Maternal Health in Sub-Saharan Africa', FRIPRO Young Researcher Talent Project, Headed by Gudrun Østby.

'Conflict Trends'. Collaborative project with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Project Director.

'Youth Exclusion and Political Violence', project funded by the Research Council of Norway (2008-2012).

​'Security Implications of Climate Change', project funded by the Research Council of Norway (2009-2012). Director of sub-project on Urban Violence.

General research interests:
* Demography and political violence
* Climate change, environmental change and armed conflict
* The politics of census-taking
* Demographic consequences of armed conflict


​​Languages spoken:

Norwegian, English


Working experience:

2013- Research Professor, PRIO

2011-12  Research Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

2007- Senior Researcher, Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO.

2010- Editor, Journal of Peace Research (JPR). Associate Editor (2006-2010), Editorial Committee Member (2004-2006), Book Review Editor 2004-05.

2002-2006 PhD Candidate and Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO.

2005-06 Visiting Scholar at the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Investigations Assistant on the 'Population Project', The UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Office of the Prosecutor. The Hague, Netherlands.

Secretary General, Socialist Youth League (Sosialistisk Ungdom) of Norway.

1995 (summer)
Research Assistant, Statistics Norway, Division for Social and Demographic Research.



PhD in Political Science, University of Oslo, 2007.

Cand. Polit., Political Science, University of Oslo 2002. Courses in African politics, Statistics, Demography, Institutional theory and Nation, state and nationalism.

Cand. mag., University of Oslo 1995. Courses in Middle East/North African Studies, Demography, Political Science, Economics


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.


Recent publications

Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Erik Melander & Henrik Urdal (2016) Introduction – Patterns of Armed Conflict Since 1945, in Mason, T. David; & Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, eds, What Do We Know About Civil War?. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (15–32).

All publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage; Henrik Urdal & Johanne Sundby (2015) Barriers in the Delivery of Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in Post-Conflict Africa: Qualitative Case Studies of Burundi and Northern Uganda, PLOS ONE 10(9).
Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage; Henrik Urdal & Johanne Sundby (2015) A qualitative study exploring the determinants of maternal health service uptake in post-conflict Burundi and Northern Uganda, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 15(18).
Chi, Primus Che; Henrik Urdal; Odidika U.J. Umeora; Johanne Sundby; Paul Spiegel & Declan Devane (2015) Improving maternal, newborn and women's reproductive health in crisis settings, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015(8).
Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage; Henrik Urdal & Johanne Sundby (2015) Perceptions of the effects of armed conflict on maternal and reproductive health services and outcomes in Burundi and Northern Uganda: a qualitative study, BMC International Health and Human Rights 15(7).
Buhaug, Halvard; Jonas Nordkvelle; Thomas Bernauer; Tobias Böhmelt; Michael Brzoska; Joshua W. Busby; Antonio Ciccone; Hanne Fjelde; Erik Gartzke; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Jack A. Goldstone; Håvard Hegre; Helge Holtermann; Vally Koubi; Jasmin S. A. Link; Peter Michael Link; Päivi Lujala; John O'Loughlin; Clionadh Raleigh; Jürgen Scheffran; Janpeter Schilling; Todd G. Smith; Ole Magnus Theisen; Richard S. J. Tol; Henrik Urdal & Nina von Uexküll (2014) One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict, Climatic Change 127(3): 391–397.
Strand, Håvard & Henrik Urdal (2014) Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing: Can states reduce the risk of armed conflict by banning census data on ethnic groups?, International Area Studies Review 17(2): 167–183.
Buhaug, Halvard & Henrik Urdal (2013) An urbanization bomb? Population growth and social disorder in cities, Global Environmental Change 23(1): 1–10.
Urdal, Henrik; & Chi, Primus Che (2013) War and Gender Inequalities in Health: The Impact of Armed Conflict on Fertility and Maternal Mortality, International Interactions39(4): 489–510.
Hegre, Håvard; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal; & Joakim Karlsen (2013) Predicting Armed Conflict, 2010-2050, International Studies Quarterly 55(2): 1–21.
Urdal, Henrik & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Explaining Urban Social Disorder and Violence: An Empirical Study of Event Data from Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, International Interactions 38(4): 512–528.
Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal; Zulfan Tadjoeddin; S. Mansoob Murshed; & Håvard Strand (2011) Population Pressure, Horizontal Inequalities and Political Violence: A Disaggregated Study of Indonesian Provinces, 1990-2003, Journal of Development Studies 47(3): 377–398.
Urdal, Henrik;Theisen, Ole Magnus;Gleditsch, Nils Petter; & Buhaug, Halvard (2010) Klimakriger? En vurdering av det faglige grunnlaget [Climate Wars? An Assessment of the Scientific Foundation] , Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift 26(4): 297–320.
Barakat, Bilal;Paulson, Julia; & Urdal, Henrik (2010) The Youth, Transition, and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa .
Østby, Gudrun; & Urdal, Henrik (2010) Education and Civil Conflict: A Review of the Quantitative, Empirical Literature .
Urdal, Henrik (2010)The Impact of War on the Health of Women and Men – What Do We Know? .
Urdal, Henrik (2008) Population, Resources and Violent Conflict: A Sub-National Study of India 1956–2002 , Journal of Conflict Resolution 52(4): 590–617.
Raleigh, Clionadh; & Henrik Urdal (2007) Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Armed Conflict, Political Geography 26(6): 674–694.
Urdal, Henrik (2006) A Clash of Generations? Youth Bulges and Political Violence, International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 607–630.
Urdal, Henrik (2005) People vs. Malthus: Population Pressure, Environmental Degradation, and Armed Conflict Revisited, Journal of Peace Research 42(4): 417–434.

Book Chapter

Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Erik Melander & Henrik Urdal (2016) Introduction – Patterns of Armed Conflict Since 1945, in Mason, T. David; & Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, eds, What Do We Know About Civil War?. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (15–32).
Urdal, Henrik & Primus Che Chi (2015) War and Gender Inequalities in Health, in Gizelis , Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Abingdon: Routledge (116–137).
Østby, Gudrun & Henrik Urdal (2014) Demographic Factors and Civil War, in Newman, Edward; & Karl R. DeRouen, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars. Abingdon & New York: Routledge (131–144).
Buhaug, Halvard; Henrik Urdal & Gudrun Østby (2013) Sustainable Cities: Urbanization and Human Security, in Sygna, Linda; Karen O'Brien; & Johanna Wolf, eds, A Changing Environment For Human Security - Transformative Approaches to Research, Policy and Action. London: Routledge (56–66).
Urdal, Henrik (2012) Demography and Armed Conflict: Assessing the Role of Population, in Brown, Graham; & Arnim Langer, eds, Elgar Companion to Civil War and Fragile States. London: Edward Elgar Publishing (139–152).
Urdal, Henrik(2011) Youth Bulges and Violence Political Demography: Interests, Conflict, and Institutions. : Paradigm(117–132).
Urdal, Henrik(2011) Demographic Aspects of Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Armed Conflict Population Distribution, Urbanization, Internal Migration and Development: an International Perspective. : United Nations Population Division(243–263).

Edited Volume

Tabeau, Ewa; Henrik Urdal; & Helge Brunborg, eds, (2006) The Demography of Armed Conflict. Berlin. International Studies in Population .

Non-refereed Journal Article

Urdal, Henrik; Gudrun Østby & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2014) Journal of Peace Research, Peace Review 26(4).
Buhaug, Halvard; Henrik Urdal & Jack S. Levy (2014) 50 Years of Peace Research: An Introduction to the Journal of Peace Research Anniversary Special Issue, Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 139–144.
Urdal, Henrik; & Gleditsch, Nils Petter (2010) Grønn fred? Nobelkomiteens miljøpriser [Green Peace? The Environmental Prizes of the Nobel Committee] , Internasjonal Politikk 68(4): 617–627.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; & Urdal, Henrik (2009) Svar til Neumann [Reply to Neumann] , Internasjonal Politikk 67(2): 309.
Buhaug, Halvard; Scott Gates; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Strand; & Henrik Urdal (2009) Nils Petter Gleditsch: A Lifetime Achiever, European Political Science 8(1): 79–89.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; & Urdal, Henrik (2008) Om topptidsskrifter i internasjonal politikk [On Top Journals in International Relations] , Internasjonal Politikk 66(4): 699–701.

Popular Article

Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen (2014) Utdanning Skaper Fred [Education Creates Peace], Dagsavisen.

Conference Paper

Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal; Andreas Forø Tollefsen; Andreas Kotsadam; Ragnhild Belbo & Christin Marsh Ormhaug (2015) Armed conflict and maternal health care Micro-level evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. , presented at the Annual Convention of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA , 3–6 September.
Urdal, Henrik; Kristian Hoelscher & Halvard Buhaug (2012) Does Urbanization Lead to More Peace? Rural-Urban Age Structure Differentials and Civil War, presented at The Annual convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, 1–4 April.
Buhaug, Halvard; & Henrik Urdal (2010) An Urbanization Bomb? Population Growth and Social Disorder in Cities, presented at DKNVS 250 Anniversary Conference on Climate Change and Security, Trondheim, 21 June.
Buhaug, Halvard; & Urdal, Henrik 2010 An Urbanization Bomb? Population Growth and Social Disorder in Cities, presented at Urban Affairs Association, , 10 March.
Urdal, Henrik 2010Civil War and Gender Inequalities in Health: The Influence of War on Fertility , presented at International Studies Association17 February.
Buhaug, Halvard; & Henrik Urdal (2009) Will Climate Change Lead to more Urban Violence? Urbanization, Urban Environmental Problems, and Social Disorder in Cities, presented at 50th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, New York, NY, 15–18 February.
Malmberg, Bo; & Urdal, Henrik 2009 Demography and the Changing Global Geography of Internal Armed Conflict, presented at 50th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, , 15–18 February.
Urdal, Henrik; & Hoelscher, Kristian 2008 Urban Youth Bulges and Social Disorder: An Empirical Study of Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, presented at Conference on ‘Youth Exclusion and Political Violence: Breaking the Link and Engaging Young People Positively in Development’, , 4–5 December.
Strand, Håvard; & Urdal, Henrik 2008 Youth Bulges, Democratic Elections, and Political Instability, presented at 49th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, , 26–29 March.
Hegre, Håvard;Strand, Håvard; & Urdal, Henrik 2008 The Future of Armed Conflict: Predicting the Incidence of Conflict, 2007-2030, presented at 49th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, , 26–29 March.
Urdal, Henrik; & Barakat, Bilal 2008 Breaking the Waves? Does Education Mediate the Relationship Between Youth Bulges and Political Violence, presented at 49th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, , 26–29 March.
Østby, Gudrun;Urdal, Henrik; & Murshed, Mansoob 2007 Population Pressure, Inequality and Political Violence: A Disaggregated Study of Indonesian Provinces, 1990-2003, presented at Polarization and Conflict Meeting, , 10–12 December.

PRIO Policy Brief

Gates, Scott; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2016) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Paasonen, Kari & Henrik Urdal (2016) Youth Bulges, Exclusion and Instability: The Role of Youth in the Arab Spring, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Østby, Gudrun & Henrik Urdal (2011) Education and Conflict: What the Evidence Says, CSCW Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv; Thomas Wheeler & Henrik Urdal (2016) Options for Measuring Conflict Deaths in Goal 16, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Urdal, Henrik (2008) Urban Social Disorder in Asia and Africa: Report on a New Dataset, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Østby, Gudrun; & Henrik Urdal (2014) Conflict and Educational Inequality: Evidence from 30 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Commissioned report for USAID. USAID.
Barakat, Bilal; & Urdal, Henrik (2009) Breaking the Waves? Does Education Mediate the Relationship Between Youth Bulges and Political Violence?, Policy Research Working Paper, 114. : The World Bank.
Urdal, Henrik; & Hoelscher, Kristian (2009) Urban Youth Bulges and Social Disorder: An Empirical Study of Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, Policy Research Working Paper, 110. : .

Blog Posts

Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014

Posted by Scott Gates, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal on Friday, 29 April 2016

Headlines from battlefields in Syria, Libya​​, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine give the impression that the world is becoming ever more violent. Indeed, since 2013 the number of armed conflicts in the world and the number of battle deaths has risen. Fortunately, the long-term trends nevertheless driving the waning of war are still at work.​ Since the Korean War, battle casualties have been declining. As a result of the civil wars in Syria and Iraq, casualties have risen to the highest level in 25 years, but are still far below levels of the Cold War. The number of conflicts has also risen in 2013 and 2014, ...

War is Development in Reverse

Posted by Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Henrik Urdal on Friday, 25 September 2015

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals are ready for adoption. For the first time, the UN will measure the incidence of one of the most controversial, but important, development indicators: the amount of armed conflict in the world. On 25 September this year, a UN summit will adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals. These will replace the Millennium Development Goals dating from 2000, which expire this year. Originally Norway pressed for the Millennium Development Goals to include the goal of a more peaceful society. This turned out to be too controversial. Several countries feared that such a goal would legitimize ...

Data Challenges in Conflict Research

Posted by Idean Salehyan & Henrik Urdal on Monday, 9 February 2015

Quality data is at the heart of quality research. The scholarly community depends on valid, reliable, and easily accessible data in order to empirically test our theories of social and political processes. Yet quantitative data is not “truth” in an absolute sense, but rather, is a numeric representation of complex phenomena. For conflict researchers, the challenge of collecting quality data is particularly acute given the nature of our enterprise. Given the costs and risks involved, it is practically impossible to observe every battle, civilian massacre, human rights violation, or protest event. Therefore, we often rely upon other sources — journalists, ...

Education Creates Peace

Posted by Gudrun Østby, Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen on Wednesday, 10 December 2014

On 10 December Nobel’s Peace Prize 2014 is awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai. Critical voices have claimed that their work is more about rights activism than promoting peace and that there is no obvious association between education and peace. Research into the causes of war suggests, however, that the Nobel Committee was right on target. A good prize The human rights activists Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai were awarded the Peace Prize in recognition of their campaigns for the rights of children and young people and for the right to education. While in the past the Nobel Committee ...

Is it Acceptable to Lie for a Good Cause?

Posted by Henrik Urdal on Friday, 5 September 2014

Humanitarian organizations may easily succumb to the temptation to misuse numbers and statistics in order to promote their own causes. Does the end justify the means? Disasters are most dangerous for moms reported Save the Children’s Carolyn S Miles in Huffington Post when presenting the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2014. The claim was followed by a number: women and children are ‘14 times more likely to die in a disaster than men’. A sky-high number when one is talking about differences in death rates and a colossal injustice if the information is reliable. But it’s not. ...

Roots of conflict : Don't blame environmental decay for the next war

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch & Henrik Urdal on Monday, 22 November 2004

When Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan known for her work in human rights and environmental conservation, including efforts to fight deforestation, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, many took note that the Nobel Committee had evidently expanded its notion of “peace.” “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment,” it proclaimed, seeming to embrace an extended concept of peace as “human security.” More probably, the committee intended to highlight scarcity of renewable natural resources as an important cause of war. Their statement, it is true, didn’t deal with that issue directly, but Maathai herself said that ...

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