Jack A. Goldstone

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How Will Demographic Transformations Affect Democracy in the Coming Decades?

by Jack A. Goldstone, Larry Diamondvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In 2007–2009 a major drought—the worst in forty years—struck northern Syria, the country’s agricultural breadbasket and a region that had already been suffering from loss of irrigation subsidies and water shortages. Syria’s young and fast-growing population meant that over a million people in the region were directly affected by the drought. In “the 2007/2008 agriculture season, nearly 75 percent of these households suffered total crop failure.” Hundreds of thousands left their lands and moved to the cities of Aleppo, Hama, and Damascus. Because Syria already was suffering from widespread popular discontent over political exclusion and corruption, these refugees added to the existing weight of urban misery and anger with the regime. Two years later, when a rebellion broke out in southern Syria, revolt quickly spread to these northern cities and precipitated civil war. The war in turn created millions more refugees, who spread to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and then to Europe, where a sudden surge of over one million war refugees sought asylum in 2015.

Essays

Africa 2050: Demographic Truth and Consequences

by Jack A. Goldstonevia Governance In An Emerging New World
Monday, January 14, 2019

No general statement about African demography is true. The variation in the continent is too great. Africa today includes giant countries with populations near or exceeding 100 million (Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria) and tiny countries with populations under 1 million (Comoros, Djibouti, Cabo Verde, Reunion, Mayotte, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles). It includes countries where fertility is rising (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Seychelles), countries where fertility is high but stable, falling by less than 1% per year (Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and ten others), and countries where fertility is high but falling very rapidly, 2.5% per year or more (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone). It also includes countries where fertility rates are exceptionally high, exceeding six children per woman (Niger, Somalia, Chad, DRC, Mali) and countries where fertility has fallen to replacement levels (2.1) or below (Tunisia, Mauritius). Annual population growth rates for African countries range from under 0.5% per year (Mauritius, Central African Republic, Libya) to eight times that rate, or about 4% per year (Niger, Equatorial Guinea).