Historic finds and multiple sources show ancient settlement in Tana, out by the fjord as well as throughout the Tana-valley. Salmon fishing, the uncultivated recourses, the cultivated areas along the watercourse as well as the fish in the fjords have been a vital part of the settlement by the river in the valley. Furthermore, the «scattered» settlement along the river, reflects the diversity of the utilization of the natural resources.
According to the census from 1887 Tana was occupied by 856 samis, 622 Norwegians and 349 Finns, with a total population of 1827. By the 1st of January 2018, the total population of the commune was 2911. However, the yearly decrease in birthrates in the commune, contribute to a regular decrease in the census, hence, to maintain the census, migration/inflow of people is vital.
Compared to the census in 1887, when the population consisted of three nationalities, it now consists of people from 36 different nationalities. The immigration from the neighboring country of Finland has been consistent throughout the past hundred years, whilst the immigration from Russia, another neighboring country, did not start until the fall of the iron curtain in 1989. Later, immigration from other countries has increased, however the biggest part of the population still consists of people of Sami origin.
An ever bettering infrastructure, including transportation, stores, industry, as well as public and private services has gradually affected the settlement and employment in Tana. Development connected to these factors has among other things created a basis for the creation of village development, also known as centralization, which is evident in the center of the community; Tana bru. The majority of the population is employed in industry services which mainly is located in Tana bru. In addition, Tana inhabitants are employed in primary industries such as reindeer husbandry, agriculture and fishing. Quarrying and other industries also employ a number of Tana inhabitants.
The area stretching from Tana bru up towards Finland and Karasjok was considered as a separate commune and was called Polmak commune, whilst the area stretching from Tana bru down towards the Tanafjord was considered Tana commune. However, in 1964 the two communes were merged into one commune, the common name for the area was Tana commune. Simultaneously, Tana bru was established as a center of the community, Tana bru is the Norwegian name, whilst the sami name is «Deanušaldi». Tana bru consists of approximately 700 residents and is the origin of ARN, the town consists of a town hall, a police station, court, hotel, two schools – one Sami and one Norwegian – a football field, biathlon course, a health center, a care center, library, gas station, a repair shop, a dairy, slaughterhouse and a Styrofoam factory.
As Tana bru is the start point of bike race’s, we also can inform that Sirma Sykkel in Tana is one of the most active cycle clubs in Northern Norway.
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