The northern population development; colonization and mortality in Swedish Sapmi, 1776-1895

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Sköld, Peter ; Axelsson, Per (2008)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v67i1.18225
  • Subject: colonization; demography; epidemiologic transition; mortality; Sami

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the Consequence of Colonization project is to study population development and mortality in Swedish Sapmi. This article, the first to be drawn from our research, compares these changes between Sami and non-Sami, South and North Sami. Study design. Longitudinal individual based data from computerized records ofthe Glillivare, Undersaker and Frostviken parishes, divided into 2 40-year periods: 1776-1815 and 1856-1895. METHODS: The main source material used for the present study was a set of data files from the Demographic Data Base (DDB) at Umea University, the largest historical database in Europe. A Sami cohort was created by indicators of ethnicity in the parish registers, and was later extended with automatic linkages to children and parents. RESULTS: Sami mortality rates show great fluctuations during the period 1776-1815, almost always peaking at a higher rate than in the rest of Sweden. The non-Sami group had lower mortality rates compared with both Sweden as a whole and the Sami in the parish. Between 1856 and 1895, the non-Sami experienced a very small reduction in their mortality rates and the Sami experienced overall improvement in their health status. Significant differences in age-specific mortality appear when the South and North Sami are compared, showing that the South Sami had far lower child mortality rates. CONCLUSIONS: The Sami population`s health status improved during the nineteenth century. This indicates that they had advanced in the epidemiologic transition model. A corresponding change is not found for the non-Sami group.Keywords: colonization; demography; epidemiologic transition; mortality; Sami(Int J Circumpolar Health 2008; 67(1):29-44)
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