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Disease Change and the Role of Medicine: The Navajo Experience$
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Stephen Kunitz

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780520049260

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520049260.001.0001

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Mortality, Fertility, and Social Organization

Mortality, Fertility, and Social Organization

Chapter:
(p.8) 1. Mortality, Fertility, and Social Organization
Source:
Disease Change and the Role of Medicine: The Navajo Experience
Author(s):

Stephen J. Kunitz

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520049260.003.0002

This chapter presents comparative data on contemporary mortality rates and patterns among several different American Indian tribes, including the Navajos. It is noted that tribes with higher mortality rates would also have higher fertility rates. Fertility may be linked in some complex way both to factors more directly dependent upon contemporary economic and educational conditions. Infant mortality is more likely to be correlated to socioeconomic, educational, and medical-care variables. The chapter then indicates that fertility may be dependent upon factors related both to traditional forms of social organization—such as personality and family structure, and ability to adjust to the reservation system—as well as to factors more directly related to socioeconomic status, particularly those factors that influence infant mortality.

Keywords:   mortality, fertility, Navajos, personality, family structure, reservation system, socioeconomic status, infant

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