The Growth of Population II (sources)

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 25-05-18 15:01
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  • The Growth of Population II (sources)
    • Official consensuses only begin c.1800
      • Registrations of birth, marriage and death was only introduced in C19th
        • before that date registers of baptism, marriage and burial are a partial but not wholly satisfactory substitute
    • pre-1800
      • information is partial
      • mostly drawn from sources not intended to serve as consensuses
      • easier to find out about towns than rural areas, and about countries in north-west Europe than eastern Europe
        • towns only made up about 10-20% of population
    • Sources tend to come in form of:
      • Private censuses
        • usually limited to particular towns
      • Religious enquiries
        • often directed at locating minorities
      • Tax assessments
        • generally exclude those too poor to pay
    • Most pre-1800 sources count households, not individuals
      • How many people are there is an 'average' household?
      • How many households are exempt from paying a particular tax?
      • Counts of individuals usually include only adults. How many children are missing?
    • Church registers survive better for some countries than others
      • Some registers were better kept than others
      • Religious minorities may not appear in registers
      • One register only tells you what is happening in one parish
    • Registers of baptism, marriage and burial can be exploited in two ways
      • Aggregative Analysis
        • to estimate the total population
        • If there are 16 baptisms a year in a parish and birth rate is assumed to be 32 per thousand
          • it is reasonable to estimate that population of parish is about 500
      • Family Reconstitution
        • to see what is happening to individual families
      • But if the same parish there are 13 burials a year and death rate is assumed to be 39 per thouand
        • estimated population comes down to 330
    • Estimating population from aggregate analysis of parish registers usually involves assuming constant birth and death rates
      • The assumption is unrealistic if made over a long period of a large area

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