Table of Contents

Settlements at the Edge

Settlements at the Edge

Remote Human Settlements in Developed Nations

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Andrew Taylor, Dean B. Carson, Prescott C. Ensign, Lee Huskey, Rasmus O. Rasmussen and Gertrude Saxinger

Settlements at the Edge examines the evolution, characteristics, functions and shifting economic basis of settlements in sparsely populated areas of developed nations. With a focus on demographic change, the book features theoretical and applied cases which explore the interface between demography, economy, well-being and the environment. This book offers a comprehensive and insightful knowledge base for understanding the role of population in shaping the development and histories of northern sparsely populated areas of developed nations including Alaska (USA), Australia, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Finland and other nations with territories within the Arctic Circle.

Chapter 16: The local demography of resource economies: long-term implications of natural resource industries for demographic development in sparsely populated areas

Dean B. Carson, Peter Sköld, Doris A. Carson and Lena Maria Nilsson

Subjects: geography, human geography, population studies, urban and regional studies, regional studies


16. The local demography of resource economies: long- erm implications t of natural resource industries for demographic development in sparsely populated areas Dean B. Carson, Peter Sköld, Doris A. Carson and Lena Maria Nilsson INTRODUCTION At the small settlement level, demographic change can be dramatic and rapid even without ‘black swan’ (Taleb, 2007) or unusual but substantial events (Carson et al., 2011). Attributing demographic change to particular causes is therefore a difficult task. In some cases there may be clear causal links between an event and a demographic outcome – rapid population growth may be almost completely ascribed to a new business which imported a large number of workers to the town, for example. However, the causes of some demographic events are harder to identify – was the business activity (and the demographic change it caused) responsible for changing fertility rates over the following generation? While sparsely populated areas are said to be unusually dependent on external factors shaping their human geography, they are also dependent on their own histories and the demographic ‘paths’ that have emerged over time as a result of the complex interplay of human behaviours (Barnes et al. 2001). Given this context, it is not a straightforward task to identify the demographic consequences of particular classes of events for settlements (particularly small settlements) in sparsely populated areas. While the primary aim of this chapter is to investigate what we know about the demographic consequences of natural resource developments, the limits to what we can know must also...

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