Demographics May Have Ended Tamil War

Colombo touted its anti-insurgency tactics as the force that finally ended Sri Lanka's civil war. But demographics may have played an even larger part, according to Gunnar Heinsohn, a German sociologist who says that nations with an oversupply of frustrated young men (a "youth bulge") are more prone to violence. During the peak years of Sri Lanka's slaughter, the country had three or four sons of fighting age per family, and the population's average age was 20 years old—similar to Gaza and Afghanistan today. There were also significantly more youth than available jobs. Now, Sri Lankans (average age: 30) have just one son per family, and his chances of getting an education and a job are much higher. There are no longer enough recruits for a full-scale Tamil war. So where else does Heinsohn think a demographic shift will cool conflicts? Lebanon, which had four sons of fighting age per family in the 1980s but where birth rates have sharply declined, and Iran, a "paper tiger" with a birthrate of only 1.7 children per woman.

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