How Governments Categorize Arctic Peoples

Authors: Olivia Napper*, George Washington University, Timothy Heleniak*, Nordregio - The Nordic Centre for Spatial Development
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Polar Regions, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Arctic, ethnicity, population, identity, census
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download



All the Arctic states attempt to categorize their populations based on some aspect of identity in population censuses, registers, surveys, and other government data collection efforts. These include identity according to race, ethnicity, ethnic origin, tribe, language, religion, nationality, citizenship, place of birth, national origin, place identity or other identities. The approaches that each Arctic state uses to classify the identities of peoples varies considerably and there have been significant changes in classification over time. Some of the current classification practices are a vestige of frontier times when data collection efforts expanded to Arctic peripheries and first began to include Arctic natives or indigenous peoples. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the national statistical offices of the Arctic states categorize Arctic peoples, both currently and historically. This examination of identity in the Arctic in official government statistics reveals complex and contested portrait.

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