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25 Historical Demography

  • Myron P. GutmannEmail author
  • Emily Klancher Merchant
Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

The study of historical populations has long supported innovative demographic research, beginning with the work of Graunt in the seventeenth century, increasing rapidly in the 1950s, and continuing to the present. This chapter documents the methods and materials used by explorers of past populations, and the main findings of the field. The section on data and tools shows how researchers make use of information (such as parish registers) originally created for other purposes, in order to undertake demographic analyses, and describes the tools used. Historical demographic research has produced valuable results about family changes over decades and centuries, especially in the timing of marriage and number of children, and has documented unexpected continuities in family life. Researchers have also explored the increase in life expectancy and improvements in quality of life, with the most recent research using sophisticated methods to link life experiences, health, and family formation.

Keywords

Historical demography Life table Family reconstitution Back projection Census Parish register Event history analysis 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of California, DavisDavisUSA

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