Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The wealth of the Swedish peasant farmer class (1750-1900): composition and distribution

Bengtsson, Erik; Svensson, Patrick


Using about 1,730 probate inventories, this article studies the wealth of peasant farmers in Sweden for the years 1750, 1800, 1850 and 1900. Average wealth grew rapidly, tripling over the nineteenth century, but it did not grow equally: the Gini coefficient for the farmers' wealth grew from 0.46 in 1750 to 0.73 in 1900. Farmers who lived close to the major grain markets in Stockholm and the mining district of Bergslagen were wealthier than others, as were farmers on fertile plains and, in 1900, those living in coastal areas. Increased market access - in terms of cities and foreign demand - meant that farmers well placed in terms of geography and infrastructure benefited much more than farmers on what became the periphery. The diversity of farmers' wealth grew, as did their financial sophistication.

Published in

Rural History
2019, Volume: 30, number: 2, article number: PII S0956793319000116

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economic History

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)