Like many newly emerging democracies, Libya didn't overthrow Qaddafi when it was bulging with youth. It toppled Qaddafi after its youth bulge matured.
Libya has not taken a dramatic step away from dictatorship because of a surge of young people agitating for change, but precisely because there are relatively fewer of them.
When demographer Richard Cincotta undertook three years ago to determine which nations had the best chance of becoming liberal democracies before 2030, he colored in all of North Africa, some of the Middle East, and on into central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (see map above).
The reason: Fertility is falling, which is allowing these nations' youth bulges to mature. That may seem counterintuitive, but too many young people pushing for change causes other elements of society to lean toward stability. In 2008, Mr. Cincotta wrote: