Currently the Arctic Council member-states are facing a number of troublesome demographic trends: restructuring of the population towards less youth share and young adults, ageing decline in labor force for some areas, general depopulation, challenges for sparsely populated areas. Thus, concentration in big cities and "dying" of small cities in the Arctic are accompanied by a huge demographical changes and migration volumes increase.
The project “Arctic Demography Index” focuses on 2 natural and mechanical demography parameters (natural decrease, natural increase, migration flows of 4 types) within 19 arctic territories of 5 Arctic Council member states (9 regions of the Russian Federation, 3 regions of Lapland, Kainuu, North Ostrobothnia in Finland, 2 counties of Norway - Nordland and Troms, 2 counties of Sweden - Norrbotten and Västerbotten, and the Canadian Arctic and North.
The project is to be coordinated with an ongoing project Business Index North led by High North Center at Nord University Business School and partners. Arctic Demographic Index will be a new part of Business Index North. Thus, through consolidation of the two projects, demography analysis would be connected to analysis of business development issues and infrastructure in the Arctic.
The Canadian research component will be led out of Université Laval in Quebec which will examine the demographic situation of the Canadian Arctic and North. It aims to describe and analyze the demographic structure, i.e., the characteristics of the population distribution by age, gender, ethnicity, as well as the demographic movements, i.e., births, deaths, and migration.
In the longer term, the project is to include demographic analysis of the other 3 member-states of the Arctic Council (the USA, Iceland, Denmark). Thus, a long term goal is to cover the whole circumpolar Arctic.
The project aims also at 4 types of migration flows analysis- labor migration, educational migration, sunshine migration, snowbird migration. Each of migration type is highly useful for the Arctic territories development.
LABOR migration meaning labor resources for the Arctic territories including circular labour migration and initial migration (from North to South) to search for work, escape from violent environments or health care, and subsequent transitions to homelessness.
EDUCATIONAL migration is known as a human capital growth opportunity in the region. Graduates flows from universities and colleges to their first workplaces in the Arctic as well as enrollees outflows dynamics from Arctic territories to study at universities and colleges at the "mainland" shall be evaluated.
SNOWBIRD migration meaning senior citizens outflow to a places of residence in regions with more favorable climatic conditions in undoubtedly reducing public expenditures in the Arctic territories.
SUNSHINE migration is a vocation type of migration flow analysis for both human healthcare and well-being.
Indigenous peoples' specifics of migration flows is on the project agenda too. Indigenous peoples are excluded from “snowbird” and “sunshine” migration types. Indigenous peoples’ educational migration is localized within the territory (nomadic schools, boarding schools). Labor migration is seriously confined to traditional crafts.
Rather often huge foreign labor migration flows are associated with the development of oil and gas industry and do contain risks in increasing interethnic and social tension. As a consequence, Indigenous peoples’ lifestyle is changing. Quite often Indigenous peoples are seen as victims, rather than partners in such projects. In this regard, it is important to evaluate the effect of foreign labor migration on both lifestyle of Indigenous peoples in the 19 Arctic territories of Russia, Norway, Canada, Finland and Sweden.
The implementation of the Project will thus allow to share knowledge on the best foreign practice within the Artic Council member-states.