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True or false?: Nineteenth-century Sapmi fertility in qualitative vs. demographic sources
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Sami Research. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Sami Research. (Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5762-949X
2012 (English)In: The History of the Family, ISSN 1081-602X, E-ISSN 1873-5398, Vol. 17, no 2, 157-177 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is limited knowledge about childbirth and childcare among Arctic indigenous peoples in historical times, and the Swedish Sami are no exception. The main aim of the present study is to investigate whether the Sami experienced fertility trends parallel to those of the rest of the population in the area and in Sweden as a whole. Digitized parish records offer a unique possibility to include comparisons from ethnic, cultural, geographical and long-term perspectives. The present study compares the statements about fertility and childcare provided by qualitative sources with data from quantitative demographic investigations. This comparison reveals a contrasting picture, from which it is evident that contemporary observers' impressions of the Sami and their childbirths were somewhat inaccurate. Opposite to what the qualitative sources claimed Sami fertility was higher than the national average rates. Moreover, crude birth rates were high and the average number of children in families exceeded what was generally claimed. We can conclude that the statements made by clergy, physicians and travelers concerning childbirth among the Sami did not correspond particularly well with the demographic reality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 17, no 2, 157-177 p.
Keyword [en]
fertility, family, indigenous population, demography, infant mortality, Sweden
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61239DOI: 10.1080/1081602X.2012.687831ISI: 000309285100004OAI: diva2:565370
Available from: 2012-11-07 Created: 2012-11-07 Last updated: 2016-05-17

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Nordin, GabriellaSköld, Peter
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