Population and Environment

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 242–260 | Cite as

Climate and marriage in the Netherlands, 1871–1937

  • Julia A. JenningsEmail author
  • Clark L. Gray
Original Paper


Environmental factors such as climate variability can place significant constraints on demographic behavior in a range of settings. However, few studies investigate the relationships between demography and climate in historical contexts. Using longitudinal individual-level demographic data from the Historical Sample of the Netherlands (HSN) and climate and economic data from 1871 to 1937, we examine the effects of climate variability on marriage. This analysis reveals that marriage increases with negative environmental conditions such as cold temperatures, riverine flooding, and high rye prices. These findings are not consistent with a Malthusian narrative of marriage behavior or with the expectation that environmental constraints were stronger in the historical past.


Marriage timing Climate variation The Netherlands Event history analysis 



We thank Kees Mandemakers for assistance with the HSN data and Peter Ekamper for access to historical climate data. PAA 2015 session chair Martin Dribe, discussant Jan Van Bavel, and session participants provided helpful comments and suggestions. This research is conducted with database access permission and in compliance with the data use agreement and privacy regulations of the Historical Sample of the Netherlands (HSN).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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