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Part of the book series: Studies in Economic and Social History ((SESH))


In 1750 the population of north-west Europe was between 60 and 64 million; by 1850 it was around 116 million. As Table I and Figure 1 show, this dramatic expansion, unprecedented since the sixteenth century, was not evenly spread across the continent. At one extreme, Finland’s population almost quadrupled in this period and, before its collapse in the famine of the late 1840s, Ireland’s probably grew over three and a half times. At the other extreme was France (and probably Switzerland and the Netherlands); France in 1750 had two-fifths of the population of our area, but her population seems to have grown by less than 50 per cent to 1850, reducing her share to three-tenths of the total. Between the extremes, the population of England and Wales expanded 2.9 times, from about 6.1 million in 1750 to 17.9 million in 1851.

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© 1988 The Economic History Society

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Anderson, M. (1988). Population Change 1750–1850. In: Population Change in North-Western Europe, 1750–1850. Studies in Economic and Social History. Palgrave, London.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-0-333-34386-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-06558-5

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