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Prussia’s urbanization, 1815 to 1939

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Matzerath, Horst (Stadtarchiv Köln)
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    This investigation deals with the urbanizationprocess in the 19th century. Characteristics of the urbanizationprocess are a strong economical growth and population growth as well as a high mobility of the population. Matzerath uses for his analysis of structural changes the growth of urban population. The reason for this decision is the fact, that first population growth is an important factor of urbanization processes and second that for demographic data long time series are available. The study addresses three aspects: First the structure and progress of the urban population growth, second the factors or components of the population growth, and third the causations and conditions of this development are analysed. In summary the question of the study is: Has the urban population growth of the past century primarily been the result of the industrialization process, or has the population growth been the result of rural population’s migration into the new developing cities? Was the urban population growth an undependent process, not influenced by industrialisation and population growth in general? The population data are collected on the level of administrative regions (Regierungsbezirksebene). Furthermore, the inhabitants of towns, defined as towns in terms of legal status, and additional from 1867 die population of rural communities with more than 2000 inhabitants are collected. The data-file consists of 3398 cases and 152 variables. Each case (town/community) containes 40 variables of the censuses of several yeas. Further variables informs about special aspects of the urbanization. Information about the processing of the population data for several cross-sectional analyses and for a longitudinal analysis are also stored in the data-file as variables. Matzerath’s contribution: Aggregated Census Data and the Analysis of Urbanization in Prussia (1816-1939), in: Historical Social Research. The Use of Historical and Process - Produced Data, hrsg. von Jerome M. Clubb, Erwin K. Scheuch (1980). Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, S. 120-131. overviews the data base “Prussia’s Urbanisation 1815 – 1939” and describes some results of the analysis. Topics: Data-Tables in HISTAT: The Study ZA8050 is in two parts: Datatables in the publication are available via the online-downloadsystem HISTAT, because this are time-series-data. The comprehensive population-data (3398 cases and 152 variables) are available as SPSS-File on inquiry from ‘GESIS, Data Archive and Data Analysis’. Data-Tables in the online-download system HISTAT (Topic: Städtestatistik) - Urban growth in Prussia (1816-1939); - Urban Population Growth in Prussia, statistical concept of towns (1867-1939); - Towns in Prussia by Size Range (1817-1939); - Communities in Pussia by Size Range (1867-1939); - Prussian State, some Provinces, Regions: Dimensions and Indicators of Urbanization (1816, 1849, 1875, 1900).
Temporal Coverage
  • 1815 / 1914
Geographic Coverage
  • Historical German lands (-1871) (DQDE)
  • German Reich (1871-1945) (DXDE)
  • Prussia in it’s borders of 1815 to 1939; Provinces and administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke) of Prussia. Towns in terms of legal status in the kingdom of Prussia since 1816 (Totalauswahl); Communities with more than 2000 inhabitants (since 1867). The researcher used prussia’s provinces and administrative districts as relative stable acquisition units and research units over time: (a) Eastern Provinces: East- and Westprussia, Posen. (b) Middle Provinces: Brandenburg, Pommerania, Schlesia, Saxony. (c) Western Provinces: Westfalia, Rhine-Province. (d) New Provinces: Schleswig-Holstein, Hannover, Hesse-Nassau. Hohenzollern has widely been excluded from the analysis or it has been added to the western provinces. If possible, the borders of the research areas were held steady with the aim to achive comparability. This means, that the results for 1816 are on the basis of the regional classification, which was realised after the completion of the reorganization (Rhineland: in 1822 creation of the Rhine Province by adding the provinces Kleve and Berg as well as the grand duchy (Großherzogtum) Lower Rhine to one province. Schlesia 1820: abolishment of the administrative district Reichenbach). Berlin has been analysed separatly, but at the same time, Berlin has been added to the results of the administrative district Potsdam and to the Province Brandenburg. East- and Westprussia has been reported seperately.
Sampled Universe
Cities in the legal sense in the Kingdom of Prussia since 1816; communities of above 2000 inhabitants since 1867.
Sampling Procedure Comment: Census
Collection Mode
  • Sources: Publikationen der amtlichen Statistik Preußens. Zahlreiche zeitgenössische Publikationen. Materialien aus Archiven. Zensusdaten der preußischen Statistik („Preußische Statistik“ und darauf folgende statistische Arbeiten): Bis 1925 wurde die Bevölkerungszahl jeder Stadt im Rahmen der preußischen Zensuserhebungen erhoben, die seit 1816 alle drei Jahre, nach 1867 alle 4 Jahre und nach 1875 alle 5 Jahre durchgeführt wurden. Nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg liegen die Zensusdaten in unregelmäßigen Intervallen vor. Statistische Serien der Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, Vierteljahreshefte zur Statistik des deutschen Reichs sowie historische Statistiken für einige Regionen Deutschlands. Alle genannten Primärquellen enthalten demografische Daten. Ferner wurden veröffentliche Statistiken einzelner Städte herangezogen (seit 1890: Statistisches Jahrbuch deutscher Städte“; ab 1934 Statistisches Jahrbuch deutscher Gemeinden“; die Publikation von Silbergleit, H., Preußens Städte. Denkschrift zum 100jährigen Jubiläum der Städteordnung vom 19. November 1908, Berlin 1908, enthält ebenfalls historische Daten zur Städtestatistik).
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 99
    Number of Variables: 469
See also the SPSS-file with extensive population-data (3398 cases and 152 variables) to this Study (ZA8050), available on inquiry.
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
All metadata from GESIS DBK are available free of restriction under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. However, GESIS requests that you actively acknowledge and give attribution to all metadata sources, such as the data providers and any data aggregators, including GESIS. For further information see
Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8050 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Matzerath, Horst: Urbanisierung in Preußen 1815-1914. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1985. (Schriften des Deutschen Instituts für Urbanistik; Bd. 72).

Update Metadata: 2020-10-21 | Issue Number: 80 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23

Matzerath, Horst (1990): Urbanisierung in Preußen. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.