The Demographic History and Current Age Structure in Latin America: The Youth Bulge and Implications for Sociopolitical Stability

Authors: Zinkina, Julia; Andreev, Alexey I.
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 11, Number 2 / November 2020


Youth bulge is a globally important phenomenon itself generated by global processes like global demographic transition and global modernization in general. However, the youth bulge manifested itself at different times and scale in various regions and countries of the world. In the paper, the historical development and certain aspects of current age structure of ten Latin American countries are analyzed in terms of the youth bulge. Some methodological approaches to this phenomenon are compared, and its risks for a country's sociopolitical stability are revealed. We then proceed to apply these various approaches to reveal possible youth bulges in the recent past, present state, and their demographic future as forecasted by UN Population Division. We go deep into the social and demographic history of some nineteenth-century Latin American countries in order to reveal the roots of their differences from other countries. We also reveal two main ‘waves’ of Latin American countries passing through youth bulges and cases of political instability occurring at the time of these bulges. We also determine the country, which has quite recently experienced the bulge (due to a delayed fertility transition) and is still faces high risks of sociopolitical instability.

Keywords: youth bulge, global demographic transition, global modernization processes, Latin American demography, age structure, political instability, Haiti. 

Julia V. Zinkina, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration more

Alexey I. Andreev, Lomonosov Moscow State University more