Unemployment--but not poverty--correlates with terrorism, report says

Institute for Economics and Peace releases 2012 Global Terrorism Index

Youth unemployment correlates with terrorism--but poverty does not, says a new report from the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The institute released its annual report (.pdf) on global terrorism trends Dec. 4, which says that the rise of global youth unemployment will be "the fundamental engine of political violence and terrorism" in the future.

It points to research that found a significant association between terrorism and youth unemployment in Europe from 1994 to 2007, as well as between youth unemployment and the incidence and severity of violence in Palestine over time.

It also says this may explain why terrorism occurs in places with high levels of education. Highly educated people without job prospects may have more grievances than the poorly educated unemployed, as they're more likely to have had higher expectations.

If that's true, the report says transnational terrorism may lose some of its appeal in the future, since grievances that stem from unemployment are more likely to be local.

Poverty, though, does not correlate well with terrorism, the report finds. The countries with the highest levels of terrorist attacks tend to be lower-middle-income countries, not low-income countries. Sixty-five percent of terrorists incidents, 69 percent of fatalities and 73 percent of injuries in 2011 occurred in lower-middle-income countries.

Some low-income countries, like Sierra Leone, Malawi and Burkina Faso, experienced no terrorism in 2011. The institute based its report on data from the Global Terrorism Database, a project of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

For more:
- download the report, "2012 Global Terrorism Index" (.pdf)

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