Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Political Science


In this study, I examine the relationship between senior population size and five acts of public contention in a sample of 174 countries over the 41 year period between 1960 and 2000. I define public contention as any act carried out by citizens or permanent residents of a country that indicates social or political contention within that country. I argue that only acts of public contention that are both age sensitive and public-dependent are affected by changes in domestic age structure. I identify all five dependent variables as age sensitive, but find that only guerrilla insurgencies, riots, and anti-government demonstrations are public-dependent, determining that strikes and coups occur as the result of the work of independent organizers and are therefore not affected by changes in domestic age structure. My statistical analysis confirms my predictions and I conclude by discussing the implications of demographic projections for coming decades.