Historical Demographic Data of Southeastern Europe: Orasac, 1824-1975 (ICPSR 32404)

Version Date: May 29, 2013 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Joel Halpern, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Department of Anthropology


Version V1

The data in the Historical Demographic Data of Southeastern Europe series derive primarily from the ethnographic and archival research of Joel M. Halpern, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in southeastern Europe from 1953 to 2006. The series is comprised of historical demographic data from several towns and villages in the countries of Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, all of which are former constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The data provide insight into the shift from agricultural to industrial production, as well as the more general processes of urbanization occurring in the last days of the Yugoslav state. With an expansive timeframe ranging from 1818 to 2006, the series also contains a wide cross-section of demographic data types. These include, but are not limited to, population censuses, tax records, agricultural and landholding data, birth records, death records, marriage and engagement records, and migration information.

This component of the series focuses exclusively on the Serbian village of Orasac and is composed of 64 datasets. These data record a variety of demographic and economic information between the years of 1824 and 1975. General population information at the individual level is available in official census records from 1863, 1884, 1948, 1953, and 1961, and from population register records for the years of 1928, 1966, and 1975. Census data at the household level is also available for the years of 1863, 1928, 1948, 1953, and 1961. These data are followed by detailed records of engagement and marriage. Many of these data were obtained through the courtesy of village and county officials. Priest book records from 1851 through 1966, as well as death records from 1863 to 1976 and tombstone records from 1975, are also available. Information regarding migrants and emigrants was obtained from the village council for the years of 1946 through 1975. Lastly, the data provide economic and financial information, including records of individual landholdings (for the years of 1863, 1952, 1966, and 1975), records of government taxation at the individual or household level (for 1813 through 1840, as well as for 1952), and livestock censuses (at both the individual and household level for the years of 1824 and 1825, and only at the individual level for the years of 1833 and 1834).

National Science Foundation (BCS-0639688, BNS8205831, BNS7913852), Wenner-Gren Foundation, International Research and Exchanges Board, Austrian Science Fund, United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of California


This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To protect respondent privacy, all data files in this collection are restricted from general dissemination. To obtain these restricted files, researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of a Restricted Data Use Agreement.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1824 -- 1975
1953 -- 1990

These data were collected over a period of about forty years through the ethnographic and archival field work of Joel M. Halpern in Southeastern Europe. Many datasets were compiled from Serbian state archives or through the courtesy of local officials in Orasac. Some of these data were collected and recorded by hand. These data have since been digitized and processed; nevertheless, some variables in some datasets contain miscodes, out of range values, missing value labels, and various other artifacts of the digitization process. ICPSR has worked to address these issues and record them in processing notes included in the ICPSR codebooks for each part.

Users should be aware that these data are but a component of the Historical Demographic Data of Southeastern Europe series. The other parts of the collection will be processed and released in the future.

Users should be aware that, in addition to the funding agencies included in the "Grants" section of this study description, Dr. Halpern's research in Southeastern Europe has also been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (1968-1970), the American Council of Learned Societies (1972; 1984), the Center for a Voluntary Society (1974), and the American Philosophical Society (1978).

Users should note that some parts of this data collection are restricted from general dissemination; for more information, please consult the Restrictions Note.

The demographic data collected from the Serbian village of Orasac serve as a micro-study to explore how changes in this village relate to the larger processes of social change occurring in southeast Europe from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century.

The data in this study were collected between 1953 and 1990 through extensive ethnographic and archival fieldwork conducted by Joel M. Halpern.

Time Series: Discrete, Longitudinal: Cohort / Event-based, Cross-sectional

All residents in the Serbian village of Orasac between the years of 1824 and 1975.

individual, household

All unpublished materials from the nineteenth century were obtained through the courtesy of the Serbian State Archives. Census materials from 1948, 1953, and 1961 were made available by the former Federal Statistical Bureau of Yugoslavia and its then Republic affiliates. All other data from Orasac were acquired through the courtesy of both village and county officials.

administrative records data, census/enumeration data

Population census data contain variables that record basic demographic information. These include the respondent's relationship to the head of his or her household, sex, date of birth, marital status, occupation, levels of education and literacy, and original place of birth.

Birth, death, marriage, and migration data contain variables that record the date of the corresponding event, as well as relevant demographic information similar in scope to the census data. Migration data include place of origin and year of arrival to Orasac.

Some landholdings data from the nineteenth century include variables that record ownership in hectares and acres of different types of land, such as fields, meadows, and vineyards. Other data do not disaggregate the type of landholdings and instead record longitudinal changes in individual land ownership over time. All landholdings data include basic demographic information (such as relationship to household head), as well as government tax assessments of total individual landholdings.

Tax data measure the level at which an individual is liable for taxation, in other words, whether an individual is taxable, not taxable, or half taxable. The 1952 tax census offers more detailed information about specific monetary amounts owed as tax, as well as demographic information about the number of dependents in a household and the number of people fit to work.

Livestock census data from the nineteenth century record the number of specific types of livestock per household as well as the amount of tax levied on these livestock. Finally, the crop tax census and wine tax record provide information on the degree of taxation levied on these agricultural commodities.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Halpern, Joel. Historical Demographic Data of Southeastern Europe: Orasac, 1824-1975. ICPSR32404-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-05-29. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR32404.v1

2013-05-29 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR), a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).