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J Biosoc Sci. 2001 Jan;33(1):67-86.

Aboriginal mortality in Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Indigenous populations in New World nations share the common experience of culture contact with outsiders and a prolonged history of prejudice and discrimination. This historical reality continues to have profound effects on their well-being, as demonstrated by their relative disadvantages in socioeconomic status on the one hand, and in their delayed demographic and epidemiological transitions on the other. In this study one aspect of aboriginals' epidemiological situation is examined: their mortality experience between the early 1980s and early 1990s. The groups studied are the Canadian Indians, the American Indians and the New Zealand Maori (data for Australian Aboriginals could not be obtained). Cause-specific death rates of these three minority groups are compared with those of their respective non-indigenous populations using multivariate log-linear competing risks models. The empirical results are consistent with the proposition that the contemporary mortality conditions of these three minorities reflect, in varying degrees, problems associated with poverty, marginalization and social disorganization. Of the three minority groups, the Canadian Indians appear to suffer more from these types of conditions, and the Maori the least.

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