Young people in the Middle East and North Africa make up the highest proportion of the population. Such a demographic can be an advantage for countries with open political, economic and educational systems. But demonstrations across the region have shown how youths can also fuel instability when they lack representation in government or are unable to find jobs.
- Saudi Arabia
ABOUT IRAN: Fertility rates were high in the 1980s after the Iranian revolution, resulting in today's large youth population, many of whom have called for a regime change in the country. Rates have since lowered to about 2.5 children per woman, and the number of youths is expected to drop.
SOURCES: Ragui Assaad, University of Minnesota; Population Reference Bureau; U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division; NATO Parliamentary Assembly. GRAPHIC: Alicia Parlapiano and Laura Stanton/The Washington Post - February 15, 2011.