Quality of Life and the Millennium Challenge

Volume 35 of the series Social Indicators Research Series pp 27-42

The Importance of a Mixed Cash- and Harvest Herding Based Economy to Living in the Arctic – An Analysis on the Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA)

  • Birger PoppelAffiliated withIlisimatusarfik, University of Greenland Email author 
  • , Jack KruseAffiliated withInstitute of Social & Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage Email author 

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“Subsistence” is both a highly disputed theoretical concept within several social sciences' disciplines, an often used term in international debates and conventions on indigenous peoples' traditional hunting rights, and an integral part of indigenous peoples', communities' and organisations' campaigns for their rights to maintain traditional lifestyles.

The domestic and cash economies of the north are highly interrelated. As Wolfe and Walker (1987) reported, “a family's subsistence production is augmented and supported by cash employment of family members. The money generated in the commercial-wage sector of the economy enables families to capitalize in the subsistence sector. The combination of subsistence and commercial-wage activities provides the economic basis for the way of life so highly valued in rural communities.”

The international core questionnaire applied in the Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic, SliCA, offers opportunities to examine the importance of a mixed cash- and harvest herding based economy to living in the Arctic, relationships between traditional hunting, fishing and herding activities and activities in the market economy sector, the respondents' satisfaction with the actual composition of the various activities as well as the preferred composition and the relationship to the overall well-being and the individual.

This theme the importance of a mixed cash- and harvest herding based economy to living in the Arctic is one of five international analysis themes suggested by the indigenous peoples' representatives participating in SLiCA.

The analysis is based on more than 7,000 personal interviews with Inuit adults in Greenland, Canada, Chukotka, and Alaska.


Arctic indigenous peoples subsistence mixed economy informal economy living conditions in the Arctic SLiCA individual well-being quality of life life satisfaction