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Image: © Johnston Collection / Wick Society

Changes in the size, age structure and sex ratio of populations have profound and long-lasting consequences. Population shifts interact in complex ways with economic growth, the disease environment, and social organisation. Even small alterations in the behaviour of individuals and families can result in cumulative transformations that only become fully apparent decades or even centuries after they have begun.

CAMPOP pioneered research on the population history of England. Our research seeks to understand the demographic pressures and choices people in past societies experienced, from the medieval period to the recent past. We focus primarily on the population history of the world's first industrial nation, Britain, understood within the context of European and global developments.

Key issues include:

  • the health and life expectancy of children and adults
  • the timing of marriage and its duration
  • how many children were born to each family
  • migration, urbanisation and residential patterns
  • the existence or otherwise of social gradients in demographic behaviour

Our investigations proceed from empirical sources (such as the Census or parish registers) that list inhabitants and/or document vital events in local communities. From understanding interactions at local level comes the ability to model and predict change at the regional and national level.

See also: a full list of PhD theses completed at the Group.