Demography and National Security

Demography and National Security

Demography and National Security

Demography and National Security


Political scientists, demographers, legal scholars, and historians have come together in this volume, under the direction of the late Myron Weiner, one of the leading scholars in this field, to address three of the major sets of questions in the field of political demography: How changes in demographic variables - population size, growth, distribution, and composition - influence threats (real or perceived) to a country's political stability and security; how governments respond to demographic trends; and how governments attempt to change demographic variables in order to enhance national security.


As some global threats to security have receded with the end of the cold war and the breakup of the Soviet Union, others have emerged to take their place. Among the newly salient perceived threats to the security of peoples and their states are the rapid world population growth that has taken place since the Second World War and its long-term sequelae, great disparities in population growth within and between developed and developing countries, and increasingly large-scale movements of people within states and across international boundaries.

Demographic variables—fertility, mortality, migration, and the growth or decline of populations—have been variously characterized as important determinants of violent conflict and political instability, national power, imperial expansion, ethnic conflict, radicalism, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, environmental degradation, and economic growth and stagnation. Some observers contend that population density and rapid population growth will lead to the breakdown of regimes, or, alternatively, that they will lead countries to become militarily expansionist in the quest for more territory; others argue that international migration, whether or not it contributes to economic growth, could erode national identity, national sovereignty, and stability.

Political Demography Revisited

This volume addresses the ways in which demographic factors, alone or in conjunction with other variables, affect the stability and security of states and societies. Its three parts deal with three sets of questions about the relationship between demography and security.

The first set of questions deals with what we actually know and do not know about how changes in demographic variables—population size, growth, distribution, and composition—influence a country’s political stability and real or perceived threats to its security. An example is . . .

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