Social groups and urban location along industrialisation: Barcelona, 1786 - 1861

Anna Cabré, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Miquel Valls Fígols, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Albert Garcia Soler, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The demolition of the walls around Barcelona started as late as 1854. In the enclosed space of what is today the old city, industrialisation took place. Along with some smaller Catalan cities, Barcelona became what has been named "the factory of Spain". Between 1787 (Censo de Floridablanca) and 1860 (first census of the statistical era), the population doubled, from roughly 100.000 to almost 200.000 inhabitants. Our present contribution focuses on the changes in spatial distribution experimented by the social groups along the process, observed through two cross-sectional images of 1787 and 1860. Our data come from a source that is being used for the first time for statistical purposes: the "Llibres d'Esposalles" (Marriage accounting books) of the Archive of the Cathedral of Barcelona, a fiscal register covering the Diocese of Barcelona from 1451 to 1906. This data is being collected at the Barcelona Historical Marriage Database, recently created at the Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The taxes paid by each couple (7-8 levels, depending on the socio-economic status of the husband) are used as indicators of social structure. The scope of the contribution is limited to the inner space of the city, the 7 parishes of 1787, which had divided into 15 by 1860. The main results (see extended abstract) show the polarisation of the space during the industrialisation process, the high concentration of poor in the formerly less dense neighbourhoods, now industrial conglomerates, which pushed other groups towards more central spaces. Also, the wider distribution of bourgeoisie seems to be related to industrial rather than commercial activities, formerly concentrated along the sea front.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 21: The renewal of urban historical demography