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An application of the variable-r method to subpopulation growth rates in a 19th century agricultural population

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Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the differential growth rates of the farming and non-farming segments of a rural Scottish community during the 19th and early 20th centuries using the variable-r method allowing for net migration. Using this method, I find that the farming population of Orkney, Scotland, showed less variability in their reproduction and growth rates than the non-farming population during a period of net population decline. I conclude by suggesting that the variable-r method can be used in general cases where the relative growth of subpopulations or subpopulation reproduction is of interest.

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