Global Political Demography
Global Political Demography
Helping policymakers anticipate and assess near-term and long-term changes in political behavior, economic development, and social progress in specific states and regions.
Since its inception in 2009, Global Political Demography Program (GPD) has helped policymakers anticipate and assess near-term and long-term changes in political behavior, economic development, and social progress in specific states and regions. The program started as a continuation of unclassified research originally conducted within the (US) National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends effort.
The focus of the GPD program is to draw upon available demographic projections to produce global statistical forecasts for a set of political, social, and economic transitions. The program also examines sub-national demographic data to forecast trends in ethnoreligious relations within states and to recommend sets of responsive policies.
The GPD program goal has been to create a durable scientific understanding—both statistically and conceptually—of the relationships between demographic change, the timing of political events, and the pace of socioeconomic change within countries. Consistent with this scientific goal, the program strives: (a) to produce clear and repeatable forecasts that analysts can readily understand, recreate, test, and apply; and (b) to regularly acknowledge predictive failures, as well as successes, in order to discern our own theoretical and methodological limitations and, where possible, drive improvements and new research.
The GPD program's age-structural model’s forecast of the rise of “one, maybe two” liberal democracies in North Africa between 2010 and 2020, is perhaps its most well-known prediction. Published two and a half years before the Arab Spring (published in Foreign Policy, 2008; The Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security, 2009), the forecast was realized with Tunisia’s rise to Freedom House’s FREE category in January 2015. The program’s model has also warned of inherent fragility in West African democracies (2009; before Mali’s coup), and the outbreak of hostilities in northern Nigeria that would spill over to contiguous West African states (published in Current History, 2011, previous to Boko Haram’s rise). GPD has also focused on the implications of demographic conditions and trends in several regionally important states, including—Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Myanmar—and is working to anticipate further cross-border (spill-over) insurgencies and mass migration events.
In GPD research, publication and consultancy have included the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, the (US) National Intelligence Council, several National Defense University programs, McKinsey & Company, The Futures Group, and the US Military Academy at West Point.