historical demography

historical demography
The study of the size and structure of past populations and of the historical relationship between demographic, economic, and social changes. Measuring the demographic characteristics of populations prior to the advent of the census and national vital registration presents a major challenge since available data are often fragmentary. It is necessary to draw on a range of sources, such as ecclesiastical registers, bills of mortality, wills, tombstones, military records, property lists, and so forth, and painstakingly reconstruct a demographic picture of the period.
Attempts to measure the demographic characteristics of past populations predate the second half of the twentieth century. However historical demography emerged as a distinctive branch of demography in the post-war period, and was associated with the development of new techniques for studying historical populations, particularly the method of family reconstitution pioneered by Louis Henry of the French Institut d'Études Démographiques in the 1950s. Henry used parish registers, first of the Genevan bourgeoisie and then of the peasantry in Crulai in Normandy, to reconstruct the demographic experiences of families in these communities. His approach to family reconstitution involves taking a particular marriage pair and tracing information about their birth, their parents, the marriage, their own childbearing, and their deaths, a procedure repeated for each family in turn.
In the United Kingdom, E. A. Wrigley employed the same techniques to study families in Colyton in Devon, using parish registers covering the period 1538-1837. His influential article on’Family Limitation in Pre-Industrial England’ (English History Review, 1966) argued that birth control was widespread and that families were able to respond to social and economic pressures by delaying childbearing and restricting family size. Together with Peter Laslett, he established the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, which since 1964 has served as the focal point for historical demography in Britain. Work from groups such as this has done much to challenge established views about family and household life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Laslett's work in particular set new and formidably high standards for the use of quantitative historical materials in analyses of the Western family (see The World we Have Lost. 1965; Household and Family in Past Time. 1972; and Family Life and Illicit Love in Earlier Generations, 1977). However, it should be noted that his rediscovery of the nuclear family as the norm in pre-industrial England has since been challenged by several critics (both sociologists and historians), who have argued that the existence of small households as a unit of residential organization, and small (that is nuclear) families as a framework of meaning for everyday life are not necessarily one and the same thing. See also social demography.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Historical demography — is a quantitative study of history of human population, developed and popularized in 20th century by French historian Louis Henry. It is considered both a supporting science of history and a part of demography.Unlike modern demography, historical …   Wikipedia

  • Historical demography of Poland — shows that in the past, Poland s demography was much more diverse then at present. For many centuries, until the end of Second World War, the Polish population was composed of many significant ethnic minorities. Prehistorical (pre 966) Polish… …   Wikipedia

  • Demography — Sociology …   Wikipedia

  • demography — The study of human populations, their growth and decline, due to changing patterns of migration, fertility and mortality , and characteristics such as the sex ratio , dependency ratio, and age structure. The subject is sometimes divided for… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • demography, historical — See historical demography …   Dictionary of sociology

  • DEMOGRAPHY — This entry is arranged according to the following outline: introduction size and geographical distribution of world jewry major geographical shifts of world jewry up to world war i 1914 TO 1939 the shoah 1948 TO 1970 1970 TO 2005 dispersion and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Demography of London — Inner London and Outer London as defined by the Office for National Statistics The demography of London is analysed by the Office for National Statistics and data is produced for each of the Greater London wards, the City of London and the 32… …   Wikipedia

  • Demography of England — The non metropolitan counties and unitary authorities of England, colour coded to show population. The City of London is not included. The demography of England has since 1801 been measured by the decennial national census, and is marked by… …   Wikipedia

  • HISTORICAL SURVEY: THE STATE AND ITS ANTECEDENTS (1880–2006) — Introduction It took the new Jewish nation about 70 years to emerge as the State of Israel. The immediate stimulus that initiated the modern return to Zion was the disappointment, in the last quarter of the 19th century, of the expectation that… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Demography of Cardiff — Contents 1 Demography 2 Language 2.1 Language schools 3 Religion 4 References …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”