In Sweden, we are known for having the best population registers in the world, but all have not been digitized. Yet. With support from Umeå University, DDB is building one of the world's largest and most detailed population databases: POPLINK.

Digitized data from the 18th and 19th centuries have proven to be an invaluable resource for research on people's lives and changes in society over time. However, population data for the period 1900 to 1968 is currently not available in digital form and therefore cannot be used for vital research in the same way. To meet the needs, the Demographic Data Base is building POPLINK, a unique database that contains population data from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, up until around 1950. The work is carried out in close cooperation with Statistics Sweden (SCB).

Which research opportunities does POPLINK offer?

Through POPLINK, researchers will have access to a database that spans over more than 300 years and 15 generations. It provides rich information on everything from housing, work, health and family to social and economic conditions of about 350 000 individuals. This could for example help us to better understand how heredity and environment affect common diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, cancer and diabetes. The researchers will also be able to study the major social changes of the 20th century in a brand new way:

  • The welfare-based society
  • Changes in population and family patterns
  • A radically improved public health

Thanks to the cooperation with SCB, data in POPLINK can be linked to other Swedish research records, making the new database useful for the medical sciences as well as social sciences and humanities.

What information can be found in the database?

The information in POPLINK is gathered from the Swedish parish records, sources that genealogists usually use. For the period 1900-1950, data such as births and baptisms, banns and marriages, deaths, burials and migration, are all being digitized. This mainly means information about a persons date of birth, occupation and place of residence. Data is also available for parents, husbands/wives, children, wedding date, and (where applicable) the date and cause of death.

Who are included in POPLINK?

The first phase of the construction includes eight parishes in northern Västerbotten: the rural and city parishes of Skellefteå, Byske, Fällfors, Bureå, Kågedalen, Jörn, and Norsjö. 
Phase two also includes parishes in the Umeå region: the rural and city parishes of Umeå, as well as the Tavelsjö parish. All of those who were registered members of any of these parishes sometime before 1950-1955 will be included in the final database.

Page Editor: Nina Brynefall

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Image: Berit Eriksson