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Population issues are central to all facets of national security, including the ability of the state to defend itself from external threats, avoid collapse, or provide for the basic needs of its citizens. All demographic trends are driven by a combination of changes in only three variables: fertility, mortality, and migration. These three underlying variables shape a society’s age structure, ethnic composition, and overall size. Such population characteristics are underlying sources of security and insecurity, but they often receive less attention in war studies than more proximate catalysts. Between demographic trends on one side of the equation and conflict on the other, multiple intermediate variables amplify or dilute demographic effects. For example, environmental issues exacerbate many demographic problems, particularly for the world’s weakest states, where ...

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