Richard Cincotta

Former Director

This is the profile of a former staff member, affiliate, intern, or guest author. Biographical information is not maintained and may be out of date.

His publications on these topics have appeared in Foreign PolicyNature and Science magazines. He is also a Woodrow Wilson Center Global Fellow and an Intelligence Community Associate. In the latter capacity, Cincotta has contributed to the National Intelligence Council’s two most recent global futuring exercises, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (2012), and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (2008) as well as the Geneva Declaration Secretariat’s Global Burden of Armed Violence(2008). 

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

Cincotta, R.P. and L.J. Gorenflo, eds. 2011. Human Population: Its Influences on Biological Diversity, Ecological Studies Series, Vol. 214. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.  

Cincotta, R.P., R. Engelman, D. Anastasion. 2003. The Security Demographic: Population and Civil Conflict After the Cold War. Washington, DC: Population Action International (104 pp). [Reviewed by J.A. Goldstone, Environmental Change and Security Project Report, 10: 54-57; republished in Japanese by Asian Parliamentarians Forum].

Cincotta, R. P., and R. Engelman. 2000. Nature’s Place: Human Population and the Future of Biological Diversity. Population Action International, Washington, DC (107 pp.);; [re-published in German: Cincotta and Engelman. 2001. Mench, Natur. Deutche Stiftung Welbevolkerung, Hanover (155 pp)].

Articles (Journals, book chapters, op-eds)

Cincotta, R. Will Tunisia’s Democracy Survive? The View from Political Demography”.  May 11, 2015.http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2015/05/tunisias-democracy-survive-view-political-demography/. Also available on the Stimson Spotlight blog. 

Cincotta, R.  2015. “Demography as Early Warning: Gauging Future Political Transitions in the Age-structural Time Domain.”  J. Intelligence Analysis, 22 (2): 129-148, (special issue: Early Warning, R. Fahlmann, ed.).

Cincotta, R. 2015. “Who’s Next? Age Structure and the Prospects of Democracy in North Africa and the Middle East.”  In: Population Change in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa: Beyond the Demographic Divide (Christiane Timmerman, Neels Karel, Sara Mels, Jacques Haers, and Koenraad Matthijs, eds.), Ashgate, London, pp. 167-202. [subject of article in New Scientist:http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428653.800-egypt-arab-spring-could-be-wasted-in-youthful-nations.html?full=true&print=true, May 17, 2012].

Cincotta, R. 2013. “Government without the Ultra-Orthodox? Demography and the Future of Israeli Politics,” FPRI e-Notes, Dec. 2013, Foreign Policy Research Institute. http://www.fpri.org/docs/Cincotta__Government_without_the_UltraOrthodox.pdf

Cincotta, R. 2013. “The Future to 2030, According to Demography,” In The Future Can’t Wait, (Gale, S. and S. Jackson, eds.). Washington, DC: USAID & U.S. National Defense University, pages 24-41.

Cincotta, Richard. 2013. “The Age-structural Timing of Democratization in East Asia: Identifying Past Patterns, Hypothesizing Possible Futures,” In (pp. 215-232): Proceedings of the IUSSP Asia-Pacific Region Special Sessions, IUSSP Quadrennial Conference, Busan, S. Korea. 

Contributor to: (US) National Intelligence Council. 2012. Global Trends 2030: Alternative Futures. Washington, DC: Office of the Director of National Intelligence (chapter on demographic trends).

Cincotta, R.P.  2012. “Demography: A Development Perspective.” Pages 291-310, in: Security and Development in Global Politics: A Critical Comparison, Spear, J. and P.D. Williams, eds.  Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.

Cincotta, R.P. and J. Doces. 2012. “The Age-structural Maturity Thesis: the Impact of the Youth Bulge on the Advent and Stability of Liberal Democracy.” Pages 98-116, inPolitical Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping International Security and National Politics, edited by J. A. Goldstone, Eric P. Kaufmann and Monica Duffy Toft. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 

Cincotta, R. 2011. “Socioeconomic Studies”, In: Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East(Laipson, E., ed.). Washington, DC: Stimson Center, pp. 29-36. 

Cincotta, R. 2011. “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Reluctant Fertility Transition.” Current History, May: 184-189.

Cincotta, R.P. 2011. “The Biological Diversity that is Humanly Possible: Three Models Relevant to Human Population’s Relationship with Native Species,” In (Cincotta, R.P. and L.J. Gorenflo, eds) Human Population: Its Influences on Biological Diversity, Ecological Studies Series, Vol. 214, pp 61-73. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 

Cincotta, R.P. and E. Kaufmann. 2010. “Uncompromising Demography in a Promised Land.” NIC 2010-05. Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council. 

Cincotta, R.P. 2010. “Iran’s Demography to 2025: Middle East Tiger or Shi’ia Hawk?” NIC 2010-06. Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council.

Cincotta, R.P. 2009. “Demographic Challenges to the State,” In (Tschirgi, N., Lund, M.S., and Mancini, F., eds.) Security & Development: Searching for Critical Connections, pp. 77-98. International Peace Institute & Lynne Reiner, New York.                                     

Cincotta, R.P. 2009 (Nov. 16). Can Demography Save Afghanistan? Foreign Policyhttp://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/11/16/could_demography_save_afghanistan                                   

Cincotta, R.P. 2009 (June 25). “Iran’s Chinese Future.”  Foreign Policy Magazine (online),http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/06/25/irans_chinese_future?new 

Cincotta, R.P. and E. Kaufmann. 2009 (May 15). “The Changing Face of Israel.” Foreign Policy Magazine:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4956 ;

Cincotta, R.P. and L. Hummel. 2009. “Africa’s Youthful Age Structure and Its Security Implications.” In (Richmond Krackowa, A. and Hummel, L., eds) Africa’s Strategic Geography. Carlisle, PA: US Army War College & US Military Academy, pp. 257-282.http://www.dean.usma.edu/departments/geo/Publications/Understanding%20Africa.pdf                                                                                                  

Contributor to: National Intelligence Council (U.S.). 2009. Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council (http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html). 

Cincotta, R.P. 2008/09. “Half a Chance: Youth Bulges and Transitions to Liberal Democracy,”Environmental Change and Security Program Report, 13: 10-18.

Cincotta, R.P. 2008. “How Democracies Grow Up.” Foreign Policy, March/April, 80-82 (plus supplementary map and graph online).  A retrospective on this paper’s predictions of trends toward democracy in North Africa is the subject of a C-Span Video: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/richardcincotta

Cincotta, R.P. 2005. “Génération Guerre.” Opinion/International Section, p. 22 in La Libre Belgique.Brussels, Jan. 29, 2005.

Mastny, L. and R.P. Cincotta. 2005. “Examining the Connections Between Population and Security,” Pages 22-39, in: State of the World2005, New York: W.W. Norton.

Cincotta, R.P. 2004. “Demographic Security Comes of Age,” Environmental Change and Security Project Report, 10: 24-29.

Cincotta, R.P., R. Engelman. “The Demographics of Discord.” Opinion. International Herald Tribune.March 2, 2004.

R.P. Cincotta and B.B. Crane. 2001. “The Mexico City Policy and U.S. Family Planning Assistance.”Science 294: 525-526. 

Cincotta, R.P., J. Wisnewski, and R. Engelman. 2000. “Human population in the biodiversity hotspots.”Nature 404: 990-992. 

Research & Writing

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta Quoted on Democracy in Iran

  Read article here.

Stimson in the News
Op-Ed by Richard Cincotta on Sub-Saharan Africa Demographic Window

  The article can be read here. 

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta’s Op-ed in New Security Beat on Political Demography

In a world rapidly churning out unpredictable political shocks, intelligence analysts occasionally need to clear their heads of the daily barrage of newsworthy events and instead work with simple theories that discern the direction and speed of trends…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta quoted in The Washington Post on youth in the Muslim world

JAKARTA, Indonesia — In early August, when leaders of several dozen Muslim countries gathered in Jakarta for an annual economic conference, some of the speakers acknowledged that things aren’t looking good for their global community. Chaos continu…

Commentary
Myanmar’s Democratic Deficit: Demography and the Rohingya Dilemma

By Rachel Blomquist & Richard Cincotta:  According to political demographers, who study the relationship between population dynamics and politics, two characteristics when observed together provide a rather good indication that a state is abou…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta in New Security Beat on demography and democracy in Sahelian states

Between the Sahara to the north and savanna to the south lies the semi-arid Sahel, a region stretching from Senegal to Sudan that has experienced desperate poverty, climate change, malnutrition, and violence. While every context is different, the Sahel…

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Richard Cincotta in NewSecurityBeat on Tunisia’s Democracy

Among the few bright spots in the 2015 Freedom in the World Report, the brightest may be Tunisia, which for the first time was assessed as “free” – Freedom House’s highest “freedom status” and for many political scientists the definitive indicatio…

Commentary
Will Tunisia’s Democracy Survive? A View From Political Demography

Among the few bright spots in the 2015 Freedom in the World Report, the brightest may be Tunisia, which for the first time was assessed as “free” – Freedom House’s highest “freedom status” and for many political scientists the definitive indicatio…

Commentary
Were High International Food Prices An “Early Warning” Of The Arab Spring? Probably Not.

The spike in high international food prices, in late 2010, which coincided with the demonstrations and regime changes in North Africa has become a popular explanation for the initiation of the Arab Spring. However, not everyone is convinced of that con…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta’s op-ed on food insecurity impacts on democracy is published in New Security Beat

Just months after popular uprisings toppled Tunisia and Egypt’s authoritarian regimes, a trio of complex-system researchers published a brief article linking these demonstrations with high levels of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta quoted in New Security Beat on demographic change and political instability

Beyond the Horizon: Understanding the Future for Better Development Today When Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines last month, the incredible damage visited on the people, infrastructure, and land was shaped by trends that have been in…

Commentary
Government Without the Ultra-Orthodox? Demography and the Future of Israeli Politics

It would be hard to conjure up a more grave and immediate set of peacetime challenges than those that Israel faces today-from the advances in Iran’s nuclear program, to the political instabilities that continue to play out along the length of its borde…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta’s article on the future of Israeli politics is published at FPRI

It would be hard to conjure up a more grave and immediate set of peacetime challenges than those that Israel faces today-from the advances in Iran’s nuclear program, to the political instabilities that continue to play out along the length of its borde…

Stimson in the News
Richard Cincotta’s work on Afghanistan’s “youth bulge” featured in New Security Beat (Wilson Center)

As the United States approaches its 2014 deadline for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, one often overshadowed aspect of the conflict is the hard-won progress made by previously marginalized segments of the Afghan population, particularly women, gi…

Commentary
How Much Democracy for Mali?

With renewed elections in Mali slated for July and French troops containing Tuareg and Islamist insurgents, the Sahelian state appears to be on track to restart the liberal democracy that was upended in March 2012 by a coup d’état. However, several Afr…

Commentary
Iran: Taking Aim At Low Fertility And Women’s Mobility

Iran’s domestic policies affecting reproduction and women’s rights have taken several abrupt twists and turns since the revolution of 1980. Most recently, the government announced that it was striking family planning services from the mix programs fund…

Report
Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East

The momentous events sweeping the Arab world since late 2010 raise important questions about the art and science of analyzing political and societal events. In an age of information surplus, which creates the illusion that one can easily know what is h…

Commentary
Prospects For Ahmadinejad’s Call For More Rapid Population Growth In Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent remarks, appealing to Iranian legislators to take steps to boost the country’s population from 70 to 120 million and condemning the country’s recent attainment of the two-child family, raise questions abou…

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