The Demographics Driving Geopolitical Change

The Demographics Driving Geopolitical Change

Virtual Briefing Series

Tuesday, June 13th, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

This year, India overtook its neighbor and rival China in population, while protests raged in France after the national retirement age was delayed due to the country’s aging population. While the population of much of the developed world continues to grow older, countries in the developing world are growing faster and getting younger. Just months after the world population finally hit the 8 billion milestone, how are these major demographic shifts shaping up to influence the future of geopolitics? Join us on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, from 12 PM to 1 PM ET for a virtual discussion with political demographer Dr. Jennifer Sciubba, a fellow at the Wilson Center and author of the 2022 book 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World to discuss current demographic trends and their geopolitical impact.

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Jennifer D. Sciubba

Dr. Jennifer D. Sciubba is a leading expert in the field of political demography. Her research focuses on the political, social, and economic implications of population trends, and she has a particular interest in population aging. Her 2022 book, 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World, argues that a deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration trends points us toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow. In general, she works to educate the broader public about the importance of population trends by publishing policy-relevant research.

Dr. Sciubba is currently a Scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, researching a book on the history of demographic engineering in the United States. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is formerly an associate professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Dr. Sciubba has studied at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, and is a former demographics consultant to the US Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy). She is the author of The Future Faces of War: Population and National Security (2011) and editor of A Research Agenda for Political Demography (2021). Her research has appeared in multiple academic journals, including International Affairs, International Interactions, International Area Studies Review, and the Journal of Human Rights and she has shared her research in outlets such as The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, and on the TED stage. Dr. Sciubba is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Phi Beta Kappa and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Population Reference Bureau. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Maryland and her B.A. from Agnes Scott College. You can find links to her research at and stay updated via Twitter @profsciubba or LinkedIn.


About 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World

As the world nears 8 billion people, the countries that have led the global order since World War II are becoming the most aged societies in human history. At the same time, the world’s poorest and least powerful countries are suffocating under an imbalance of population and resources. In 8 Billion and Counting, political demographer Jennifer D. Sciubba argues that the story of the twenty-first century is less a story about exponential population growth, as the previous century was, than it is a story about differential growth―marked by a stark divide between the world’s richest and poorest countries.

Drawing from decades of research, policy experience, and teaching, Sciubba employs stories and statistics to explain how demographic trends, like age structure and ethnic composition, are crucial signposts for future violence and peace, repression and democracy, poverty and prosperity. Although we have a diverse global population, demographic trends often follow predictable patterns that can help professionals across the corporate, nonprofit, government, and military sectors understand the global strategic environment.

Through the lenses of national security, global health, and economics, Sciubba demonstrates the pitfalls of taking population numbers at face value and extrapolating from there. Instead, she argues, we must look at the forces in a society that amplify demographic trends and the forces that dilute them, particularly political institutions, or the rules of the game. She shows that the most important skills in demographic analysis are naming and being aware of your preferences, rethinking assumptions, and asking the right questions.

Provocative and engrossing, 8 Billion and Counting is required reading for business leaders, policy makers, and anyone eager to anticipate political, economic, and social risks and opportunities. A deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration promises to point toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow.

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Photo credit: arthobbit / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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