Conflicts and the Demographic Transition: Economic Opportunity or Disaster?

Book Chapter

Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Henrik Urdal (2017) Conflicts and the Demographic Transition: Economic Opportunity or Disaster?, in Groth, Hans; & John F. May, eds, Africa's Population: In Search of a Demographic Dividend. Cham, Switzerland: Springer (483–496).

Publisher's website

​A strong fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africaf could pave the way for a demographic transition on the continent that would open a demographic window of opportunity. However, it has been suggested that the demographic transition and increasing relative youth proportions are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ in themselves, and that under unfavorable political and economic conditions, ‘youth bulges’ may be a curse rather than a blessing, increasing the risk of armed conflict. We show that the demographic transition seems to come later in African conflict countries south of the Sahara than to those who have not experienced conflict. This chapter will explore these two scenarios, and how different factors, such as education, fertility and health, ethnic distribution, migration and, urbanization, can affect the ways in which demographic change impacts the risk of conflict.

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