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Mortality and Fertility in Arctic Communities Greenland - A Case Study

C. Norregaard and G. Schmidt
Population Studies
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Mar., 1975), pp. 37-51
DOI: 10.2307/2173423
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2173423
Page Count: 15
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Mortality and Fertility in Arctic Communities Greenland - A Case Study
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to estimate the present level of mortality and fertility as well as its history amongst the indigenous population of Greenland during the period 1834-1953 on the basis of a series of censuses taken during that time. Mortality and fertility parameters have been estimated by techniques particularly suited for the analysis of incomplete demographic data - e.g. stable population analysis. During the period studied Greenland was a Danish colony. It did not become constitutionally part of Denmark until 1953. The paper shows that even though the importance of Danish - and other European - influence should not be underestimated, the socio-economic structure of Greenland was relatively stable until 1953. The results show an extremely high mortality and a correspondingly high fertility. There is also evidence that mortality fluctuated considerably during the period. This might also be true of fertility, but it is impossible to establish this by means of the techniques used. These results are supported by an analysis of registrations of births and deaths for part of the period. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the validity of the techniques of estimation, having regard to the nature of the Greenland censuses. It is pointed out that the empirical material from which model stable populations must have been constructed varies somewhat from that applicable to an Arctic population.

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