Spanish Influenza Mortality of Ethnic Minorities in Norway 1918–1919

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Abstract

Previous studies into SpanishInfluenza mortality have reported thatindigenous populations were the prime victims.The explanations put forward in those studieswere not convincing, however, as no controlshad been made for possibly confounding factors.The multivariate analysis in this paper showsthat areas of Norway with high shares of theSami population (Laps) had high SpanishInfluenza mortality, net of such confoundingfactors as wealth, poverty, crowding, and occupationalstructure. The cause is probably a lack ofinherited and acquired immunity againstinfluenza among the Sami. Another ethnicminority, Kven (Finnish immigrants and theirdescendants), however, did not differsignificantly from the ethnic Norwegianmajority population with respect to SpanishInfluenza mortality. This is explained by arelatively high degree of economic and culturalassimilation of the Kven in the Norwegiansociety, as opposed to the Sami in the late1910s.