Demographic causes of urban decline in 17th century Spain Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2015

start page

  • 133

end page

  • 159


  • 130


  • 2015-2

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0066-2062

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1776-2774


  • This article presents the results of our reconstruction of the entire Spanish population for the period 1500-1860 carried out using census data and estimates of births and deaths. The purpose is to establish the impact of the urban network on population growth in the country as a whole, and more particularly, on the demographic crisis of the seventeenth century.The results suggest that, despite the relatively low life expectancy (around 25-30 years), the low marriage rate also played a leading role in regulating demographic growth. In concrete, in the periods of high military spending when Spain was fighting to retain its hegemonic position (first against the Netherlands and then against Great Britain), higher taxation also had an important influence on the regulation of demographic growth. Substantial taxes affected families' standard of living, which meant that the marriage rate dropped, leading to demographic stagnation.