The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Oliver Richmond (Editor-in-Chief), Gëzim Visoka (Editor-in-Chief)

Youth Bulge and Conflict

Living reference work entry



Youth bulge refers to the phenomenon of rapid growth of the young population of a country relative to its general population, causing considerable impact on its economy and politics. While youth bulge is characterized as a negative development for its potential to cause upsurge in social unrest, violence, and conflict, it is also viewed positively as an opportunity for economic growth, captured by the associated term “demographic dividend,” a situation where a country sees expansion of its young working-age population accompanied by the relative decline in the dependent population (i.e., people above 65 and below 14 years old) due to low rates of fertility and mortality.


The idea of youth bulge was first proposed by French sociologist Gaston Bouthoul (1896–1980), who looked at the demographic causes of war and aggression. Bouthoul saw war as deferred...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, School of Law and GovernmentDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sandra Pogodda

There are no affiliations available