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Publication Title

Human Biology


Wayne State University Press

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Abstract/ Summary

The purpose of this paper is to provide a descriptive analysis of infant mortality patterns in a pre-industrial North American population, the Madawaska French of the upper St. John Valley. A synchronic approach was taken in examining a series of 320 infant deaths identified through family reconstitution. The infant mortality rate for the series is 132 per 1000, low compared to other pre-industrial populations. The large average completed family size of 11.34 is associated with short birth intervals averaging 21.9 months. Women who experience infant mortality were found to have significantly larger completed families that those who did not. Infant mortality risk was positively associated with larger ultimate family size, but was unrelated to birth order. Patterns of high fertility and low infant mortality are attributed to the process of colonization and population expansion in a relatively isolated area.


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