Economic and Demographic Change on the Navajo Reservation

Stephen J. Kunitz

in Disease Change and the Role of Medicine: The Navajo Experience

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 1983 | ISBN: 9780520049260
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520909649 | DOI:
Economic and Demographic Change on the Navajo Reservation

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This chapter presents an economic and demographic history of the Navajo reservation from the late nineteenth century to the present. The continued population growth during the 1950s and early 1960s, the failure to expand significantly the land base, and the continuing decline in the quality of range land led to a further decline in the livestock economy. It is then mentioned that the Navajo economy has come to depend increasingly upon unearned income and wage work, and livestock has assumed less significance in the support of more people. Additionally, the population has grown at a rapid rate throughout the reservation period, and economic development has occurred only fitfully and in a boom-bust pattern in response to changes in the national economy. By some criteria, economic conditions have not improved significantly, if at all, but mortality rates have declined dramatically, especially since World War II.

Keywords: Navajo reservation; livestock; unearned income; wage work; population; mortality; World War II

Chapter.  11471 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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