Database of local statistics in Belgium, 1800 - 1970

LOKSTAT is an interdisciplinary database of local and regional statistics from the period 1800-1970. The data collections are based on the official censuses of the population, agriculture, trade and industry that took place in Belgium. Data series derived from other historical sources, such as election results, also appear in the database.

Information sheet

Title: Historical database of local statistics in Belgium

Author: Ghent University with the exception of specific sub-collections

Population/Subject: Statistics at municipal level

Region: Belgium

Period: 1800-1970

Number of units: 3 067

Number of variables: 34 500

Format: CSV, XLS, PDF

Accessibility: No restrictions on top of the general terms and conditions of use of the Quetelet Center, with the exception of specific sub-collections where permission from the author is required.

Context of the database

The central government has organised censuses and surveys at regular intervals in almost every sector of social life since the French Revolution. The result is the creation of a rich heritage of statistical material covering the past two centuries. Millions of statistics on the population, industry, trade, agriculture and other fields are recorded in old books and manuscripts that are scattered in archives and libraries. These statistics were entered into the LOKSTAT database and, thanks to the application of modern techniques, are available for innovative and groundbreaking research.

LOKSTAT was developed with the financial support of the Hercules Foundation. The database was created in collaboration with the HISSTAT network, which consists of the Department of History of Ghent University, the Interface Demography of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Centre for Research in Demography and Societies of the Université Catholique de Louvain and the State Archives of Belgium. 

What data can you find in this database?

The database contains data from all the Belgian municipalities and covers a wide range of societal issues, from population, family, migration, labour, agriculture, economy to education.

These data series are derived from the traditional censuses:

  • Population censuses: 1800, 1806, 1816, 1830, 1846, 1856, 1866, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1947, 1961, 1970
  • Agricultural censuses: 1846, 1895, 1959
  • Industrial censuses: 1896, 1910, 1937, 1961

Other data collected at the municipal level can also be found in the database:

  • Information about the population change: 1840-2000
  • Transport infrastructure: 1800-1940
  • Local elections: 1899, 1952-1964
  • Church attendance: 1950

Using a cartographic module (HISGIS), the data can be presented on a map and analysed in detail.

How can you consult data in the database?

LOKSTAT is managed by the Quetelet Center and is available to academics and researchers as part of scientific projects. Those who wish to use the data collections can contact the staff at the center (eric.vanhaute@ugent.be or sven.vrielinck@ugent.be). Customised maps can be constructed on request.

A selection of censuses of the population, agriculture and industry from the period 1895-1900 is freely available via the website www.lokstat.ugent.be.

Publications based on LOKSTAT

  • Debackere, Ellen. Welkom in Antwerpen: het Antwerpse vreemdelingenbeleid 1830-1880. Leuven: Universitaire Pers, 2020.
  • Naert, Jan. “Hoeders van de staat: burgemeesters in bezet en bevrijd België en Noord-Frankrijk (1914-1921)”. PhD Diss., Universiteit Gent, 2020.
  • Beeckaert, Esther, and Eric Vanhaute. “Whose famine? Regional differences in vulnerability and resilience during the 1840s potato famine in Belgium”, In An Economic History of Famine Resilience uitgegeven door Jessica Dijkman and Bas van Leeuwen (red.), 115–41. New York, 2019.

  • Bourguignon, Mélanie. “Questionner les relations entre aspects socioéconomiques et démographie à l’aune des particularités du milieu rural local wallon au 19e siècle”. Espace, populations, sociétés, no. 2 (2019): 1-29.
  • Mor, Maayan. “Rethinking the origins of electoral cleavages: how states create cleavages through policies”. PhD Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019.
  • Monteiro, João, Bruno Martins, Patricia Murrieta-Flores, and João M. Pires. “Spatial disaggregation of historical census data: leveraging multiple sources of ancillary information”, International Journal of Geo-Information, no. 8 (2019): 1-22.
  • Beeckaert, Esther. “Subsidies to the rescue: the funding of poor relief in Flemish village communities during the crisis of the 1840s, a comparative analysis”, TSEG / Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History 15, no. 4 (2019): 5-32.
  • Degraeve, Matthijs. “Vakmanschap in tijden van massaproductie: de Brusselse bouwnijverheid in de negentiende en twintigste eeuw.” Tijd-Schrift 9, no. 1 (2019): 7-27.
  • Van Leeuwen, Marco H.D., Ineke Maas, Saskia Hin, and Koen Matthijs. “Socio-economic modernization and enduring language barriers: choosing a marriage partner in Flemish communities, 1821-1913”, The History of the Family 24, no. 1 (2019): 94-122.
  • De Graef, Pieter. “Urban development and local food production. Ability and inability of feeding growing cities by urban agriculture, nineteenth-century industrialising Belgium”, In Stocks, season and sales: food supply, storage and markets in Europe and the New World 1600-2000 uitgegeven door Ronsijn, Wouter, Niccoló Mignemi, and Laurent Herment (red.), 147-79. Ghent, 2019.
  • Ashkan Ashkpour. “Theory and practice of historical census data harmonization: the Dutch historical census use case: a flexible, structured and accountable approach using Linked Data Technology”. PhD Dissertation, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2019.
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “Alternance d’effets de ciseaux dans l’espace rural de la Flandre intérieure, XVIIIe – XIX siècle”, in Histoire rurale de l’Europe, XVIe-XXe siècle, edited by Laurent Herment (ed.): 203-229.  Paris: EHESS, 2019.
  • Braun, Robert. “Protectors of Pluralism: Christian Minorities and the Rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.” Cambridge University Press, 2019. 
  • Deschacht, Nick and Anne Winter, “Micro-Mobility in Flux. Municipal Migration Levels in the Provinces of Flanders and Antwerp, 1796–1846”, Journal of Migration History 5, no. 1 (2019): 1-30.
  • Cant, Jeroen. “Food inaccessibility in Flanders: Identifying spatial mismatches between retail and residential patterns”. PhD diss., Universiteit Antwerpen, 2019.
  • Matthys, Christa. “Pay the midwife! The cost of delivery in nineteenth-century rural West-Flanders: the case of midwife Joanna Mestagh”. TSEG/ Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History 15, no. 2-3 (2018): 5-32.
  • Frissen, Aleida, Jim van Os, Sanne Peeters, Ed Gronenschild, Machteld Marcelis, and for Genetic Risk and Outcome in Psychosis (G.R.O.U.P.). “Evidence that reduced gray matter volume in psychotic disorder is associated with exposure to environmental risk factors”. Psychiatry Research. Neuroimaging 271 (2018): 100–10. 
  • Frigo, Annalisa, and Eric Roca. “Roots of gender equality: the persistent effect of beguinages on attitudes toward women”. Labour Seminars, Paper. Milan Bocconi University, 2018.
  • Vervaeke, Ans, and Isabelle Devos. “Much ado about nothing? Reconsidering the smallpox effect. Height in the nineteenth-century town of Thielt, Belgium”. TSEG/ Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History 14, no. 4 (2018): 56-83.
  • Neirinckx, Pieter. “De landbouw in Genk aan het einde van de 19de eeuw”. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift van de Heemkring Heidebloemke Genk 77, no. 2 (2018): 34–36.
  • Depauw, Ewout. “Tall farmers and tiny weavers. Rural living standards and heights in Flanders, 1830-1870.” TSEG/ Tijdschrift Voor Sociale En Economische Geschiedenis/ The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History 14, no. 3 (2018): 56-84.
  • Ronsijn, Wouter and Eric Vanhaute. “From the hungry 1840s to the dear 1850s: the case of Belgium’s food price crisis, 1853-56”. Agricultural History Review 66, no. 2 (2018): 238-260.
  • Zobl Franz Xaver. “Regional economic development under trade liberalisation, technological change and market access: evidence from 19th century France and Belgium”. PhD Dissertation, The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2018.
  • Van Bavel, Jan, Martin Klesment, Eva Beaujouan, Zuzanna Brzozowska, Allan Puur, David Reher, Miguel Requena, Glenn Sandström, Tomáš Sobotka, and Kryštof Zeman. “Seeding the gender revolution: Women’s education and cohort fertility among the baby boom generations”, Population Studies. A Journal of Demography 72, no. 3 (2018): 283-304.
  • Geelen, Julien. Selfie van zes Voergemeenten omstreeks 1900. Deel 1: bevolking; Deel 2: landbouw; Deel 3: Nijverheid. Voeren: Heem en Natuur, 2018: 1-20.
  • Neirinckx, Pieter. “De Genkse industrie aan het einde van de 19de eeuw”. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift van de Heemkring Heidebloemke Genk 76, no. 2. (2017): 20-22.
  • Clerix, Kristof. “Grasduinen in de bevolkingsgeschiedenis: wat was er mis met de West-Vlamingen?” Knack, 13 March 2018.
  • De Graef, Pieter. “Food from country to city, waste from city to country: an environmental symbiosis? Fertiliser improvement in eighteenth-century Flanders”. Journal for the History of Environment and Society 2 (2017): 25–61.
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “‘Gaining ground’ in Flanders after the 1840s: access to land and coping mechanisms of (semi-)landless households in Flanders, ca. 1850-1900”, Rural History Conference, 1–35. Leuven, 2017.
  • De Keyzer, Maïka. Inclusive commons and the sustainability of peasant communities in the medieval Low Countries. New York (N.Y.) : Routledge, 2017. 
  • Ronsse, Stijn, and Samuel Standaert. “Combining growth and level data: an estimation of the population of Belgian municipalities between 1880 and 1970”. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 50, no. 4 (2017): 218–26. 
  • Curtis, Daniel, Jessica Dijkman, Thijs Lambrecht, and Eric Vanhaute. “Low Countries”. In Famine in European History, edited by Guido Alfani en Cormac Ò Grada, 119–40. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Vanoutrive, Thomas, and Jeroen Cant. Vergunningenbeleid in Vlaanderen: kwantitatieve analyse van de vergunningendatabank. Brussel: Vlaams planbureau voor Omgeving, 2017.
  • Mäkelä, Eetu, Juha Törnroos, Thea Lindquist, and Eero Hyvönen. “WW1LOD: an application of CIDOC-CRM to World War 1 linked data”. International Journal on Digital Libraries 18, no. 4 (november 2017): 333–43.
  • Depauw, Ewout, and Deborah Oxley. “Toddlers, teenagers and terminal heights: the determinants of adult male stature, Flanders, 1800-76”. Edited by Rui Esteves en Gabriel Geisler Mesevage. Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History 157 (2017): 1–34.
  • Aerts, Koen, Dirk Luyten, Paul Drossens, and Pieter Lagrou. Was opa een nazi? Speuren naar het oorlogsverleden van je familie. Tielt: Lannoo N.V, 2017.
  • Aerts, Koen, Dirk Luyten, Bart Willems, Paul Drossens, et Pieter Lagrou. Papy, était-il un Nazi? Sur les traces d’un passé de guerre. Bruxelles: Racine, 2017.
  • Neirinckx, Pieter. “De Genkse industrie aan het einde van de 19de eeuw”. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift van de Heemkring Heidebloemke Genk 76, no. 2. (2017): 20-22
  • Thiry, Amandine. Le tribute des temps troubles: la justice face aux homicides attribués à la « résistance » dans l’arrondissement judiciaire de Mons (avril 1943 – novembre 1944). Namur, 2016: 1-230.
  • De Keyzer, Maïka, and Eline Van Onacker. “Beyond the flock: sheep farming, wool sales and social differentiation in a sixteenth-century peasant society: the Campine in the Low Countries”, Agricultural History Review 64, no. 1(2016): 157-80.
  • Bryukhanova, Elena, and Maria Rygalova. “Historical GIS on-line: a review of foreign and Russian projects”. Altai State University Journal 90, nr. 2 (2016): 56–9.
  • Vanraepenbusch, Karla, and Matthias Meirlaen. “Van trauma sites naar herinneringsplekken: de integratie van de executies en de gefusilleerden in de stedelijke ruimte van Antwerpen, Luik en Rijsel (1914-1940)”, Stadsgeschiedenis 11, nr. 2 (2016): 146-64.
  • De Veirman, Sofie, Helena Haage, and Lotta Vikström. “Deaf and unwanted? Marriage characteristics of deaf people in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Belgium: a comparative and cross-regional approach”. Continuity and Change 31, no. 2 (2016): 241–73.
  • Puschmann, Paul, Nina Van den Driessche, Koen Matthijs, en Bart Van de Putte. “Paths of acculturation and social inclusion. Migration, marriage opportunities and assortative mating by geographic origin in Antwerp, 1846–1920”. Journal of Migration History 2, no. 1 (22 maart 2016): 177–207. 
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “Bevolkingscijfers voor Oudenaarde tijdens de lange negentiende eeuw”. Handelingen van de Geschied- en Oudheidkundige Kring van Oudenaarde 53 (2016): 103–20.
  • Vanoutrive, Thomas, Ilja Van Damme, and Greet De Block. “On the rationality of network development: the case of the Belgian motorway network”. In International Planning History Proceedings, 17th IPHS Conference, History-Urbanism-Resilience, onder redactie van C. Hein, 1–12. TU Delft, 2016.
  • De Vijlder, Nicolas, and Koen Schoors. “Land rights, local financial development and industrial activity: evidence from Flanders (19th-early 20th century)”. Seminars, Working Paper. Leuven: Dep. of Economics, 2016: 1-43.
  • Winter, Anne. Migrants and urban change: newcomers to Antwerp, 1760-1860. First issued in paperback. Perspectives in Economic and Social History 1. London: Routledge, 2016.
  • Rutten, Gijsbert, Rik Vosters, and Marijke van der Wal. “Franchification in discourse and pratice: loan morphology in Dutch private letters of the eighteenth and nineteenth century”, in: Past, present and future of a language border: Germanic-Romance encounters in the Low Countries edited by Peersman, Catharina, Gijsbert Rutten and Rik Vosters (eds.), Berlin/Boston, 2015: 143-70.
  • Ronsse, Stijn. “Explorations in cliometrics”. PhD Dissertation, Ghent University, 2015.
  • Peeters, S. C. T., E. H. B. M. Gronenschild, V. van de Ven, P. Habets, R. Goebel, J. van Os, M. Marcelis, and for Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis (G.R.O.U.P.). “Altered mesocorticolimbic functional connectivity in psychotic disorder: an analysis of proxy genetic and environmental effects”. Psychological Medicine 45, no. 10 (2015): 2157–69.
  • Deschacht, Nick, and Anne Winter. “Rural crisis and rural exodus? Local migration dynamics during the crisis of the 1840s in Flanders (Belgium)”. Explorations in Economic History 56 (2015): 32–52.
  • De Veirman, Sofie. “Deaf and disabled? (Un)Employment of deaf people in Belgium: a comparison of eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century cohorts”. Disability & Society 30, no. 3 (2015): 460–74.
  • Puschmann, Paul, Nina Van den Driessche, Per-Olof Grönberg, Bart Van de Putte, and Koen Matthijs. “From outsiders to insiders? Partner choice and marriage among internal migrants in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Stockholm, 1850-1930”. Historical Social Research- Historische Sozialforschung, Special Issue: Climate and beyond. The production of knowledge about the Earth as a signpost of social change, 40/2, no. 152 (2015): 319–58.
  • Van Orshoven Pieter-Jan, and Bart De Peuter. Lokale bestuurskrachtmonitoring: integraal benaderen en meten van lokale bestuurskracht In Vlaanderen. Leuven: Steunpunt Bestuurlijke Organisatie Slagkrachtige Overheid, 2015.
  • Klüsener, Sebastian. “Spatial variation in non-marital fertility across Europe: recent trends, past path dependencies and potential future pathways”. MPIDR Working Paper. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 2015.
  • Aerts, Koen. Repressie zonder maat of einde? De juridische reïntegratie van collaborateurs in de Belgische staat na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Gent: Academia Press, 2015.
  • Smeets, Feikje, Tineke Lataster, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, and Philippe Delespaul. “Evidence that environmental and genetic risks for psychotic disorder may operate by impacting on connections between core symptoms of perceptual alteration and delusional ideation”, Schizophrenia Bulletin 41, no. 3 (2015): 687–97.
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “Microdata on the Belgian Population for 1961–2001: documenting and reconstructing the 1961 census sample”, Historical Methods: a Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 47(2014): 45-55.
  • Puschmann, Paul, Per-Olof Grönberg, Reto Schumacher, and Koen Matthijs. “Access to marriage and reproduction among migrants in Antwerp and Stockholm. A longitudinal approach to processes of social inclusion and exclusion, 1846–1926”, The History of the Family 19 (2014): 29-52.
  • Roels Leen. Het tekort: studies over de arbeidsmarkt voor mijnwerkers in het Luikse kolenbekken vanaf het einde van de negentiende eeuw tot 1974. Hilversum, 2014.
  • Ronsijn Wouter. “Commerce and the countryside. The rural population’s involvement in the commodity market in Flanders, 1750-1910”. PhD Diss., Ghent University, 2014.
  • Vercammen, Rik. “Leven aan de rafelrand? Landlopers en bedelaars in Belgische Rijksweldadigheidskolonies (1870-1930)”. PhD Diss., VUB, 2014.
  • Dombrecht, Kristof. “Plattelandsgemeenschappen, lokale elites en ongelijkheid in het Vlaamse kustgebied (14de-16de eeuw): case-study Dudzele Ambacht”. PhD Diss., Universiteit Gent, 2014.
  • Soens, Tim, Iason Jongepier, and Eline Van Onacker. Een historische studie van het stratenpatroon van Doel. Brussel, 2014.
  • Matthys, Christa, and Marianne Caron. “La fécondité légitime dans différents agrosystèmes sociaux en Flandre, 1830-1930“, Espace, populations, sociétés (2014): 1-18.
  • Ronsijn Wouter, “Educational expansion and gender inequality in Belgium in the twentieth century”, Histoire et Mesure 39, no. 1 (2014): 195-218.