This paper investigates how unemployment and democracy influence the relationship between youth bulges and political instability. A novel feature of our empirical analysis is that we examine the joint effect of labour markets and the level of democracy in the linkage between youth bulges and political instability. Using political instability data derived from the International Country Risk Guide we conduct a series of panel data analyses over one hundred countries and make use of several sub-samples for the years 1984–2019. We find that youth bulge alone enhances political instability, while high rates of unemployment further enhance its role. Interestingly, we find that moving toward democracy increases its effect upon political instability if greater percentages of youth population and unemployment persist in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.