From Data Scarcity to Data Abundance

Resource Type
Dataset : event/transaction data
  • Alter, George (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
historical demography; family reconstitution
  • Abstract

    This reflection on the evolution of methods and data in historical demography argues that we can still find inspiration and guidance in the work of the founders of our discipline. Historical demography is in the midst of a transition from a data-poor to a data-rich environment. Previous generations relied on demographic models to squeeze as much information as possible from the small amounts of data available. Today we live in a new era of large data sets and regression models. Researchers are creating both regional and international historical data sets of unprecedented size and depth. When examined closely, however, the methods that we use now make the same simplifying assumptions that generated the key advances of earlier generations. As we transition to new methods, demographic insight must inform our analyses and enrich our conclusions.

Temporal Coverage
  • 1800-01-01 / 1940-12-31
    Time Period: Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1800--Tue Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 1940
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany
Sampled Universe
Six German village genealogies collected and digitized by John Knodel.
Collection Mode
  • These data were collected by John Knodel and used in Knodel, J. E. (1988). Demographic behavior in the past a study of fourteen German village populations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cambridge Cambridgeshire, New York: Cambridge University Press.


Update Metadata: 2019-03-29 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-03-29