GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Long-Term Global Demographic Trends: Reshaping the Geopolitical Landscape


This paper identifies the factors that will be most important in shaping the worldwide demographic landscape in 2020 and beyond. It examines how societies are coping with the broad range of demographic challenges and assesses what conditions may be key to transforming demographic trends into security issues of interest to the United States.

Global demographic trends will have far-reaching consequences for the key elements of national power: economic, military, and political within the larger global community. Allies and rivals alike will cope differently—some better than others. Reforms require advance notice and gradual implementation that, given the immediacy of many of the world’s demographic challenges, leave no room for complacency.

This assessment draws on the results of a two-day strategic planning conference in October 2000. Experts from academia, the business world, and the Intelligence Community identifi ed the trends they believed would be most important in shaping the global demographic landscape over the next decade. (See the section Tapping Into Prominent Expertise on page 90 for more details.)

The format of this paper follows the format of the annotated briefing developed by RAND and other institutions. The top pages are briefing slides that outline and summarize the various elements of the paper. The bottom pages provide the analytic details and supporting evidence.