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German Time Series Dataset, 1834-2012

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posted on 2015-06-19, 14:13 authored by Thomas RahlfThomas Rahlf, Paul Erker, Georg Fertig, Franz Rothenbacher, Jochen Oltmer, Volker Müller-Benedict, Reinhard Spree, Marcel Boldorf, Mark Spoerer, Marc Debus, Dietrich Oberwittler, Toni Pierenkemper, Heike Wolter, Bernd Wedemeyer-Kolwe, Thomas Großbölting, Markus Goldbeck, Rainer Metz, Richard Tilly, Christopher Kopper, Michael Kopsidis, Alfred Reckendrees, Günther Schulz, Markus Lampe, Nikolaus Wolf, Herman de Jong, Joerg Baten

The aim of the project was to identify and compile the best available historical time series for Germany, and to complement or update them at reasonable expense. Time series were only to be included, if data for the entire period from 1834 to 2012 was at least theoretically available.

An integral aspect of the concept of our project is the combination of data with critical commentaries of the time series by established expert scientists. The following themes are covered (authors in parentheses):

1. Environment, Climate, and Nature (Paul Erker)

2. Population, Households, Families (Georg Fertig/Franz Rothenbacher)

3. Migration (Jochen Oltmer)

4. Education and Science (Volker Müller-Benedict)

5. Health Service (Reinhard Spree)

6. Social Policy (Marcel Boldorf)

7. Public Finance and Taxation (Mark Spoerer)

8. Political Participation (Marc Debus)

9. Crime and Justice (Dietrich Oberwittler)

10. Work, Income, and Standard of Living (Toni Pierenkemper)

11. Culture, Tourism, and Sports (Heike Wolter/Bernd Wedemeyer-Kolwe)

12. Religion (Thomas Großbölting/Markus Goldbeck)

13. National Accounts (Rainer Metz)

14. Prices (Rainer Metz)

15. Money and Credit (Richard Tilly)

16. Transport and Communication (Christopher Kopper)

17. Agriculture (Michael Kopsidis)

18. Business, Industry, and Craft (Alfred Reckendrees)

19. Building and Housing (Günther Schulz)

20. Trade (Markus Lampe/ Nikolaus Wolf)

21. Balance of Payments (Nikolaus Wolf)

22. International Comparisons (Herman de Jong/Joerg Baten)

Basically, the structure of a dataset is guided by the tables in the print publication by the Federal Agency. The print publication allows for four to eight tables for each of the 22 chapters, which means the data record is correspondingly made up of 120 tables in total. The inner structure of the dataset is a consequence of a German idiosyncrasy: the numerous territorial changes. To account for this idiosyncrasy, we decided on a four-fold data structure. Four territorial units with their respective data, are therefore differentiated in each table in separate columns:

A German Confederation/Custom Union/German Reich (1834-1945).
B German Federal Republic (1949-1989).
C German Democratic Republic (1949-1989).
D Germany since the reunification (since 1990).

Years in parentheses should be considered a guideline only. It is possible that series for the territory of the old Federal Republic or the new federal states are continued after 1990, or that all-German data from before 1990 were available or were reconstructed.
All time series are identified by a distinct ID consisting of an “x” and a four-digit number (for numbers under 1000 with leading zeros). The time series that exclusively contain GDR data were identified with a “c” prefix instead of the “x”.
For the four territorial units, the time series are arranged in four blocks side by side within the XLSX files. That means: first all time series for the territory and the period of the Custom Union and German Reich, the next columns contain side by side all time series for the territory of the German Federal Republic / the old federal states, then – if available – those for the territory of the German Democratic Republic / the new federal states, and finally for the reunified Germany. There is at most one row for each year. Dates can be missing if no data for the respective year are available in either of the table’s time series, but no date will appear twice. The four territorial units and the resultant time periods cause a “stepwise” appearance of the data tables.


If you find anything missing, unclear, incomprehensible, improvable, etc., please contact me (kontakt@deutschland-in-daten.de).

Further reading:

Rahlf, Thomas, The German Time Series Dataset 1834-2012, in: Journal of Economics and Statistics 236/1 (2016), pp. 129-143. [DOI: 10.1515/jbnst-2015-1005] [Open Access]

(in German):

Rahlf, Thomas, Voraussetzungen für eine Historische Statistik von Deutschland (19./20. Jh.), in: Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 101/3 (2014), S. 322-352. [PDF]

Rahlf, Thomas (Hrsg.), Dokumentation zum Zeitreihendatensatz für Deutschland, 1834-2012, Version 01 (= Historical Social Research Transition 26v01), Köln 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.12759/hsr.trans.26.v01.2015

Rahlf, Thomas (Hrsg.), Deutschland in Daten. Zeitreihen zur Historischen Statistik, Bonn: Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, 2015. [EconStor]