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A Global History of Historical Demography

Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity

Edited By Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan and Sølvi Sogner

At the XXIst World Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) in 2010 in Amsterdam, the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD) decided to write an overview of its own history. Fifty years had gone by since the CISH XIst World Congress in Stockholm 1960, when historians took the first tentative initiatives to create a wholly new interdisciplinary commission for historical demography, a meeting place for a budding discipline where researchers in letters and science could meet, exchange ideas, cultivate and develop a new field. This book is the outcome of that decision.

Demography, past, present and future is a common concern for all inhabitants of this planet. The variation is great, however, with regard to sources, social and political conditions, state of the art, technological development, national and local initiatives. In the course of half a century many changes take place. Keeping abreast of the gigantic streams of information and innovation in the field is demanding, even more so for a discipline with global dimensions and ambitions. The book makes fascinating reading, and preparing it has been a rewarding and thought provoking experience. The thirty-seven articles in the book represent as many different stories.

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35. Historical Demography in Sweden and its International Visibility


Historical Demography in Sweden and its International Visibility


Population studies have a long tradition in Sweden2. For 250 years local population registration of high quality has served as the basis for Swedish national statistics. Demographic sources in Sweden are particularly well equipped for studies of the demography of late agrarian and early industrial society and related developments during the various phases of the demographic transition. However, like his foreign colleagues the Swedish population historian encounters significant problems in drawing conclusions about population size and demographic changes during the first two centuries of The Early Modern Era. The lack of local and central census material has forced researchers to make indirect estimates of the trends in population development. To do so, they have primarily used various fiscal source series which show the development in settled areas.

The Local Sources

The most important nominative sources in Sweden prior to universal local parish registration are the poll-tax registers (mantalslängder), which date back to 1628. However, prior to 1765, certain sections of the population are either under represented or altogether excluded in these registers, and the reliability of the material fluctuates both chronologically and regionally. Yet, in fortunate cases the poll-tax registers can serve as a basis for detailed historical and demographic analyses.

More importantly, some clergymen, mostly in Middle Sweden, in the early 1600s were influenced by registration methods in other countries and subsequently began to register ecclesiastical functions...

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