Center Discussion Paper, Economic Growth Center 1021
This paper presents first results from a project to reconstitute the demographic behavior of three villages in Württemberg (southern Germany) from the mid-sixteenth to the early twentieth century. Using high-quality registers of births, deaths, and marriages, and unusual ancillary sources, we improve on the family-reconstitution techniques pioneered by Louis Henry and applied to good effect by the Cambridge Group and other scholars. This paper focuses on simple, standard demographic measures, in order to provide a broad overview and support comparisons with other places. An extreme system of demographic regulation operated in these Württemberg communities until around 1870. This regulation created a two-tiered demographic system. A group of insiders were able to marry, and experienced both high marital fertility and high infant and child mortality. A second group of outsiders were prevented from marrying. Many, especially the males, left the community; those who stayed contributed to growing illegitimacy and associated levels of infant and child mortality that were even higher than for the offspring of insiders.
fertility mortality nuptiality European marriage pattern institutions community politische Ehekonsens Germany Württemberg proto-industry