Indigenous infant mortality in Sweden: the key to the health transition?
Per Axelsson, Umea University
Peter Sköld, Umea University
Len Smith, Australian National University
The Sami of northern Scandinavia have experienced a positive health development that has brought them from a high-mortality situation two hundred years ago to their present-day low-mortality profile. Their experience is not shared by other indigenous peoples around the world. This study is concerned with infant mortality, a key issue in the health transition process. Long-term infant mortality trends are analyzed in order to compare Sami and non-Sami groups in the area. Data is obtained from the world-unique Northern Population Data Base at Umeå university, and consist of digitized 18th and 19th-century parish records. These complete life biographies include ethnic markers and enable longitudinal studies of causes of death, differences in sex, age-distribution, stillbirths and legitimacy status. The results are discussed from the perspective of the source quality, methodological considerations, the health transition generally in Sweden, and the overall Sami health transition.
Presented in Session 54: The demography of indigenous populations