Demography and Armed Conflict: Assessing the Role of Population

Book Chapter

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).

​Demographic and environmental pressures have featured prominently in the debate over the new security challenges in the aftermath of the Cold War. The attention has primarily been on two arguably distinctive sets of population-conflict dynamics; the effect of population growth on dwindling resources, and the importance of age structure transition, or ‘youth bulges’. In the resource scarcity literature, high population growth and density are seen as major causes of scarcity of renewable resources like arable land, fresh water, forests, and fisheries. Arguably, such scarcities may trigger armed conflict over resource access.