Central European History


Migration in Preindustrial Germany

Steve Hochstadt

Demographic research is rapidly rewriting the history of the preindustrial European population. Numerous recent local studies contradict the common stereotype of geographical stability; European communities before 1800 housed highly mobile populations. Much of this new research concerns England and France, but significant migratory movement has also been found in early modern Sweden, Scotland, and Japan. This paper surveys the evidence on mobility in Germany since the later Middle Ages, and places it within a broad socioeconomic context.