The "Youth Bulge": Defining the Next Generation of Young Men as a Threat to the Future

The “Youth Bulge”: Defining the Next Generation of Young Men as a Threat to the Future
Anne Hendrixson, Winter 2003
I
n an article analyzing the 9/11 terrorist actions, Newsweek asks, "Why do they hate us?" Under the heading "The Politics of Rage," the article comments on possible reasons for terrorism in the Arab world. It reads, "Arab societies are going through a massive youth bulge, with more than half of most countries" populations under the age of 25... A huge influx of restless young men in any country is bad news. When accompanied by even small economic and social change, it usually produces a new politics of protest. In the past, societies in these circumstances have fallen prey to a search for revolutionary solutions.

This sentiment, linking young Arab men in the global South with political upheaval and potential violence, echoes through many articles in the popular press. The "Culture Briefs" section of the Washington Times picked up this quote from Hassan Fattah, author of The Middle East Baby Boom: "The sheer number of these Arab Boomers will give them more influence over the course of their nations than any other generation before them. To be sure, there's plenty of reason to be concerned with any youth bulge. Indeed, the one generalization demographers are willing to make is that youth bulges disrupt the social equilibrium, invariably inviting turmoil and drastic change.

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