This chapter has reviewed the historical demography of the Alaska Native population. This population is not homogenous since it represents four relatively distinct linguistic, cultural and racial groups, partially hybridized, whose members are widely scattered over a vast territorial expanse. The aboriginal population, though not numerous, was reduced from early estimates by violence and disease due to contact with Russians, both European and Siberian, and Americans. The first census of 1880 enumerated 32,977 native persons. The population continued to decline numerically until 1910, and the 1880 census figure was not attained until about 1947. Vigorous and heroic public health programs then reduced the mortality rates so that the population nearly doubled in 23 years. This population then had a "high dependency ratio" with nearly one-half of its members under 15 years of age. The population is now in a period of "demographic transition" with some control of birth rate, for family planning assistance by Federal and State agencies was available by 1965, and abortion legislation was passed in 1970. A recent demographic trend has been the increased urban-ward move from rural villages of segments of the native population. Whereas the native and white populations were numerically equal in the early 1930's, in about one generation's time, the white population increased to over 236 thousand at the present time. This has relegated Alaska natives to minority status and they represent about 19% of the total population.
Alaska Medical Library - From: Fortuine, Robert et al. 1993. The Health of the Inuit of North America: A Bibliography from the Earliest Times through 1990. University of Alaska Anchorage. Citation number 1453.
UAA Consortium Library - Alaskana Collection GN58.A7 H85 1980. Pages 13-36 in F.A. Milan, ed. The human biology of circumpolar populations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. International Biological Programme 21.