Demography as Early Warning: Gauging Future Political Transitions in the Age-Structural Time Domain

Richard P. Cincotta, Henry L. Stimson Center

This essay reviews the methods and products of a statistical early-warning program, grounded on theories and methods of age-structural political demography. The principal goal of this early-warning effort, which was initially developed within the Long Range Analysis Unit of the (U.S.) National Intelligence Council (NIC), has been to produce models that use publicly available data to generate replicable statistical warnings of intelligence-worthy state behaviors up to two decades in advance. In this review, I (a) introduce the concept of the “age-structural time domain”; (b) present the age-structural model's (ASMLD's) three basic functions and discuss their functional forms; (c) outline a set of additional factors (observed and hypothesized) known to mediate the age-structural relationships described by the ASMLD’s basic functions; and (d) provide examples of two products that summarize the model’s regional early-warning results (examples show current results for the Middle East and North Africa).

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Presented in Session 93: Population and Geopolitics