In a recently published study, historian Wouter Ronsijn (UGent) studies the evolution of the number of landless families in Flanders in the second half of the 19th century. Landlessness was especially high around 1850. No longer able to earn a living from spinning and weaving while land rents rose, many households lost their land. By 1846, no less than a quarter of households were landless. In 1895 this figure dropped again in large parts of Flanders to ten percent, apart from some regions where it rose to forty percent. The decline was due to demographic stagnation on the one hand and an increase in the number of small farms on the other.
These findings are based on census data and data series from LOKSTAT which the author has analyzed and visualized on map.
Wouter Ronsijn, “’Gaining ground’ in Flanders after the 1840s: access to land and the coping mechanisms of landless and semi-landless households, 1850-1900”, in: Landless households in rural Europe, 1600-1900. Boydell Studies in Rural History, 2022, pp. 91-116.