Search Ilisimatusarfik
About the research project

Population Dynamics in Greenland - A Multi-Component, Mixed-Methods Study of Demographic Change in the Arctic.

This research project focuses on the social, cultural, environmental and physiological dynamics of pregnancy in an indigenous Arctic population. The project is a 3-year collaborative study focusing on Greenlandic ways of perceiving, understanding and experiencing pregnancy. Greenlander's believe that future generations of Greenlanders and Greenlandic culture and practices are in jeopardy due to a variety of demographic factors including low birth rates. This project will examine the individual, social, cultural, environmental and physiological factors that appear to have the greatest influence on Greenlandic women's and men's reproduction.

The research will be implemented in Kullorsuaq in northwestern Greenland and the target population for the study is Greenlandic women and men, ages 15 to 49 years. The project is an interdisciplinary international, collaborative community based participatory research (CBPR) study involving the Ilisimatusarfik, local health and community partners in Greenland, Indiana University and Montana State University. The main activities of the research project are:

  • Examine how the individual level characteristics including age, gender, physical and mental health, spirituality, and beliefs about sex, pregnancy, adoption and abortion influence reproductive decision making in Kullorsuaq
  • Examine how the interpersonal dynamics in sexual relationships influence reproductive decision-making among men and women in Kullorsuaq
  • Examine the foundational cultural constructs regarding kinship, familial obligations and personhood that influence pregnancy outcomes in Kullorsuaq
  • Examine how natural and built environmental characteristics such as one's own and one's family's connection to place, the climate changes occurring in the environment and its influence on hunting, as well as the increased oil industry in the area, influence pregnancy outcomes in Kullorsuaq
  • Examine whether hormonal contraceptives may be biologically ill-matched to some clients in Kullorsuaq

The project will be implemented using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) framework. Of particular interest is the combination of the CBPR approach with ethnographic (cultural, natural and biological) and public health methods. Overall the project will contribute to our understanding of the complexity of the factors that may be influencing a declining Arctic population. In addition the project includes social science, public health, and natural science research areas and highlights interdisciplinary research in the Arctic of interest to the United States and Greenland.

Download summary of final recommendations (in Danish).

A toolkit for Community Based Participatory Research in Greenland - download.

Who are we?