The reconstitution of population of Northern Italy with a comparison between the demographic evolution of Piedmont, Emilia and England (XVII – XIX Centuries)

Francesco Scalone, Statistical Office - Province of Bologna
Lorenzo Del Panta, Università di Bologna

Was the demographic profile of Northern Italy a high or a low pressure demographic regime? What kind of specific internal mechanism caused the growth of Northern Italian population during the Modern Age? Was the demographic development pattern of Northern Italy similar to the population’s evolution of Northern Europe? This work is based on a sample of serial data which covers two large zones of Northern Italy (Piedmont and Emilia). The analysis covers a crucial period from the seventeenth century plagues to the beginning of the Italian demographic transition in the late nineteenth century. The available data are based on a collection of many parish registers and Status Animarum from a large sample of villages and towns. Moreover, fiscal enumerations and censuses give other important information about the population’s size of the villages and the regional areas. On the bases of these sample data, the regional birth and death series are estimated. Since the annual series of vital events and population levels at several censuses are available, it’s possible to calculate the total fertility rates (TFR) and expectancy of life by using an annual inverse projection procedure. These results are compared with the serial indicators taken from the reconstitution of the population of England. During the three considered centuries, the fertility of England is stationary and varies within a short range of values. The fertility rate of Piedmont shows large oscillations but it stops fluctuating after 1750. The expectation of life at birth in England appears more stable then Northern Italy. While survival levels of England are always higher than those of Piedmont, the rise of the gross reproduction rate of England between the second part of the XVIIIth century and the beginning of the XIXth barely leads to reach the high levels that Piedmont had maintained since the XVIIth century.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 39: Regional Population Dynamics in the History of Europe (15th - 19th Century)