Recalculating Swedish pre-census demographic data: Was there acceleration in early modern population growth?
The world population growth increased in the eighteenth century, which caused real wages to decline in most countries. Eli Heckscher held the view that Swedish population growth was quite low in the seventeenth century, similar to the development in the rest of Europe, and that there was a substantial acceleration after 1720. Recent data for Sweden by Lennart Andersson Palm entail that population growth was stronger in the seventeenth century than in the eighteenth century. However, this is at variance with other types of economic data. For example, Swedish real wages increased during the seventeenth century and fell in the eighteenth century. This study attempts to resolve the anomaly and argues that Palm’s estimates of Swedish population and mortality rates are too low for the seventeenth century. It presents revised annual demographic data for Sweden for the pre-census period, back to 1630. The new data indicate that there was a small acceleration in early modern population growth, due to the decreased occurrence of mortality crises, but the acceleration was not as pronounced as in the rest of the world.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2015)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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