Population dynamics among Asmat hunter-gatherers of New Guinea: data, methods, comparisons.


Since 1953 the Asmat hunter-gatherers of Irian Jaya have been experiencing rapid cultural change, yet demographically they still can be classified as "living primitives." Methods of nonstandard data analysis are used in an effort to provide specific information on age-sex structure, fertility, birthrates, death rates, population growth, internal migration, and life expectancy and to aid in the development of a 2-part model of population growth encompassing the immediate precontact and contact eras. The population data upon which the discussion is based were obtained in 1973 and 1974 as part of a broader field study that aimed at assessing the impact of externally induced culture change. Special attention is given to the continuing although reduced impact of infanticide. Brief comparisons with other Melanesian and 3rd world societies are presented; the Asmat average annual growth rate of 1.5% since 1st permanent contact in 1953 contrasts with the generally higher rates reported for most of these other groups.

Cite this paper

@article{Arsdale1978PopulationDA, title={Population dynamics among Asmat hunter-gatherers of New Guinea: data, methods, comparisons.}, author={P W Van Arsdale}, journal={Human ecology}, year={1978}, volume={6 4}, pages={435-67} }