Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE A History of European and World Populations

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Europe and the world population growth are themes of study under continuous review. The current demographic projections esteem that the world will be reaching the 9 billion mark by 2050. Scholars are intrigued by the fact that increase in world population did not occur at the same rhythm nor were the consequences of this growth evenly distributed. The study of historical demography has shown that population experiences in one country can be quite different from those of people living in other countries.

A quantitative analysis will be undertaken, wherein, Europe's population growth will be quantified over the centuries by making particular references to population growth rates in different European countries. Malta's population dynamics will also be reviewed in this course and Maltese population patterns will be assessed in relation to the general trends of European population development.


The study-unit aims to introduce the students to quantitative analysis of population growth and learn how to assess different demographic patterns.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- gain knowledge about the impact of human population growth in different countries;
- have advanced knowledge of demographic history and learn about the profound transformations and shifts in European population;
- define population projections and gain a sound knowledge of why and how populations change over time;
- define cohorts, life-tables and other demographic and statistical techniques;
- discuss demographic-driven changes;
- compile and create statements and other supporting material related to quantitative research;
- undertake targeted population studies.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- integrate knowledge and understand demographic dynamics;
- read and interpret quantitative statistical data;
- make population projections.

Reading List:

Main Texts
• Livi Bacci, Massimo, The population of Europe : A History, Blackwell, 2002.
• Livi Bacci, Massimo, A Concise History of World Population, 2nd. ed. Blackwell, 1997.
• Livi Bacci, Massimo, Population and nutrition: an essay on European demographic history; translated by Tania Croft-Murray with the assistance of Carl Ipsen, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
• Flinn, Michael W. The European demographic system, 1500-1820, Harvester, 1981.

Supplementary Reading
• E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Schofield, The population history of England, 1541-1871: a reconstruction ; with contributions from Ronald Lee and Jim Oeppen, Cambridge U.P., 1989.
• Population change in North-Western Europe, 1750-1850, prepared for the Economic History Society by Michael Anderson, Macmillan Education, 1988.
• Popolazione e Società; Sistemi demografici nel Regno di Napoli in età Moderna (Caccuci – Bari – 1995).
• Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, 1982.
• Gregory Hanlon, Human Nature in Rural Tuscany, An Early Modern History, Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (April 3, 2007).
• Gregory Hanlon, Early Modern Italy, 1550-1800: Three Seasons in European History (European Studies Series), Palgrave Macmillan (September 30, 2000).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Archival and Digital Fieldwork Yes 30%
Assignment Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Simon Mercieca

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.