Demography’s British History and its Relation to Sociology

Edited by John Ermisch

in British Sociology Seen from Without and Within

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263426
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734298 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Demography’s British History and its Relation to Sociology

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This chapter outlines the history of demography in Britain and examines its links with the development of sociology in the country. There is a particularly strong link in the person of David Glass, a towering figure in British demography and a pioneer in British sociology. Eugene Grebenik is another shaper of the history of demography. Before the start of the twentieth century, demography was mainly the study of mortality. William Farr, who created Britain's system of vital statistics, was primarily interested in mortality. Two very important institutions in the history of British demography are the Population Investigation Committee and the Royal Commission on Population. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was also an upsurge in interest in population history and in the interaction between demographic and economic and social change in the past. This chapter closes with a consideration of the development, since the Royal Commission on Population, of the discipline of economics in relation to the subject areas that overlap with the traditional interests of sociologists and demographers.

Keywords: Britain; sociology; history; demography; David Glass; Eugene Grebenik; William Farr; Population Investigation Committee; Royal Commission on Population; economics

Chapter.  3525 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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