The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP), funded for many years by SSRC/ESRC, has transformed our knowledge of Britain's past. The group, founded in 1964 by Peter Laslett and Tony Wrigley, used parish register data to develop estimates of England's population as far back as the 16th century. Thanks to this we know a great deal more about the demographic and family history of England than we do of any other nation.
CAMPOP also provided important knowledge about the demographic transition in Britain in more recent times, analysing census data from Scotland, England and Wales. The group's research has shed light on areas ranging from child mortality and family structures to housing and employment, and was crucial in revolutionising our understanding of how industrialisation first occurred in world history.
The research group has been innovative in its methods of data collection and analysis, involving amateur and family historians in data gathering. A recent development has been an expansion of work using GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which is already producing many new insights.