The World Countries Population Size ratio dataset comprises information on total population per each country for the period 1500-2000. Data has been gathered and organized in 50-years intervals for the period 1500-1800 and in 10-years intervals for the period 1800-2000, using as geographical reference the current list of existing world countries


Jonathan Fink-Jensen

Production date



Total Population


Demography, population sizes, world countries

Time period


Geographical coverage

Entire World

Methodologies used for data collection and processing

This dataset is a slightly revised version of the one produced by Filipa Ribeiro da Silva for the CLIO Infra Project in December 2012. The most important differences can be summed up as follows: - Whenever estimates by Maddison where available, his figures are being followed in favor of estimates by Gapminder; - For Africa, estimates by Frankema and Jerven (2014) for the period 1850-1960 have been added to the existing database; - For Latin America, estimates by Abad & Van Zanden (2014) for the period 1500-1940 have been added

Period of collection

April 2015

Data collectors

Jonathan Fink-Jensen

i. Central statistical agencies ii. Historical reconstructions iii. Estimates iv. Conjectures

General references

Arroyo Abad, Leticia, and Jan Luiten van Zanden, `Growth under extractive institutions? Latin

America per capita GDP in colonial times', CGEH Working Paper Series, 61 (2014).

Gapminder, Indicator: Population, total, 1555-2030 (http://www.gapminder.org/data/: 8-12-2011).

Kuczynski, Robert René, Demographic Survey of the British Empire. West Africa; South Africa High

Commission Territories; West Indian and American Territories (London, Oxford University Press,

1948; 1949; 1953), 3 vols.

Maddison, A., The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective (Paris: OECD, 2001).

Maddison, A., The World Economy: Historical Statistics (Paris: OECD, 2003).

McEvedy, C., and Jones, R., Atlas of World Population History (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1978).

Mitchell, Brian, International Historical Statistics: 1750-2005 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 3

vols. (The Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania).

Montevideo-Oxford Latin America Economic History Database

(http://oxlad.qeh.ox.ac.uk/search.php: 06-10-2011).

Statistical Year Books of League of Nations (LNYB), 1926, 1933, 1942-1944

(http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/league/stat.html: 27-09-2012).

The Frankema-Jerven African Population Database 1850-1960, version 1.0; published in Frankema, E.

and Jerven, M. (2014). 'Writing History Backwards and Sideways: Towards a Consensus on African

Population, 1850-present' Economic History Review 67 (2014) 907-931.

The World Bank Data, Indicator: Population, total, 1960-2010

(http://data.worldbank.org/: 6-12-2011).


Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2013 (27)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2012 (34)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2013 (20)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2013 (40)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2013 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2013 (38)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

In 2010, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a subsidy to the Clio Infra project, of which Jan Luiten van Zanden was the main applicant and which is hosted by the International Institute of Social History (IISH). Clio Infra has set up a number of interconnected databases containing worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators for the past five centuries, with special attention to the past 200 years. These indicators allow research into long-term development of worldwide economic growth and inequality.

Global inequality is one of the key problems of the contemporary world. Some countries have (recently) become wealthy, other countries have remained poor. New theoretical developments in economics - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography, and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and social history require such processes to be studied on a worldwide scale. Clio Infra provides datasets for the most important indicators. Economic and social historians from around the world have been working together in thematic collaboratories, in order to collect and share their knowledge concerning the relevant indicators of economic performance and its causes. The collected data have been standardized, harmonized, and stored for future use. New indicators to study inequality have been developed. The datasets are accessible through the Clio Infra portal which also offers possibilities for visualization of the data. Clio Infra offers the opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, causes and character of the process of global inequality.