Vitantonio Mariella Michele Postigliola Mauro Rota

A reconstruction of the italian provincial population (ca. 1770-1861): a new dataset

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We present the first ever analysis of the provincial population in Italy since ca. 1770, using 1911 boundaries, and providing a key variable for future studies on Italian economic history. The new data reveal, in line with national figures, two distinct stages: one of low population growth before 1821, and one of higher growth after 1821. A preliminary inspection suggests that the process of Unification did not represent a significant factor of change in the demographic trends of the majority of the Italian provinces, with only a few exceptions. Rather, it seems that the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the period of Restoration constituted the key dynamics in driving population growth.


  • Italian population
  • data reconstruction
  • pre-unification Italy


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