Global Demographic Change and Its Implications for Military Power

by Martin C. Libicki, Howard J. Shatz, Julie E. Taylor

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Abstract

What is the impact of demographics on the prospective production of military power and the causes of war? This monograph analyzes this issue by projecting working-age populations through 2050; assessing the influence of demographics on manpower, national income and expenditures, and human capital; and examining how changes in these factors may affect the ability of states to carry out military missions. It also looks at some implications of these changes for other aspects of international security. The authors find that the United States, alone of all the large affluent nations, will continue to see (modest) increases in its working-age population thanks to replacement-level fertility rates and a likely return to vigorous levels of immigration. Meanwhile, the working-age populations of Europe and Japan are slated to fall by as much as 10 to 15 percent by 2030 and as much as 30 to 40 percent by 2050. The United States will thus account for a larger percentage of the population of its Atlantic and Pacific alliances; in other words, the capacity of traditional alliances to multiply U.S. demographic power is likely to decline, perhaps sharply, through 2050. India's working-age population is likely to overtake China's by 2030. The United States, which has 4.7 percent of the world's working-age population, will still have 4.3 percent by 2050, and the current share of global gross domestic product accounted for by the U.S. economy is likely to stay quite high.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Numbers

  • Chapter Three

    Long-Term Trends in National GDP

  • Chapter Four

    The Economic Burden of Aging Populations

  • Chapter Five

    The Influence of Demographics on the Causes of War

  • Chapter Six

    The Impact of Demographic Trends on Military Power Projection

  • Chapter Seven

    Implications

  • Appendix A

    Delayed Maternity and Fertility Rates

  • Appendix B

    Trade-Offs Between Fertility Rates and Migration Rates

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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