What I do:

I'm trying to find and merge city-level data from various time periods: ~1900, ~1930 and ~1990. I already have data on election outcomes, and a few related measures.

What's difficult:

Obviously some cities merged, new places were founded after 1900, and again others are in nowadays Poland or France. I am mainly interested in finding data on population densities and further demographics, but would need to know in detail whether some data point pertains to exactly the same unit of observations.

Example: Older data might have an entry for "Ebingen" in Baden-Württemberg. In 1975 Albstadt was founded and Ebingen bekame a part of Albstadt so more recent data will have Albstadt not Ebingen, but Albstadt also contains other places.

What I need:

Is there any public dataset available that provides

  • provides information on such changes,
  • provides pre-war demographics, and ideally
  • links pre-var town names to today's municipality-IDs (GKZ)?

If there's data fitting only one of these points I'm grateful too.

  • Can it be just gridded data? (e.g. on a 0.1 x 0.1 degree grid) Aug 4, 2016 at 10:34
  • That would be what? around 10kmX10km in Germany? I guess this would circumvent the problem of having to consider mergers and splits, but then again it would make it more difficult to match data from multiple sources, no?
    – sheß
    Aug 4, 2016 at 13:15
  • 1
    A colleagues uses gridded population density data for his work (he is currently on holiday). I am not sure if these data are available for before 1944 but I will ask him when he is back and post an answer if the data are available. Aug 4, 2016 at 14:53
  • 1
    This isn't an answer, but geonames sometimes contains historical place names as "alternate names". As a note, geonames still lists both Albstadt and Ebingen at almost-but-not-quite the same location. Perhaps you could use some sort of polygon-level filtering for Germany's older shape and then distance-filtering re considering two cities equivalent?
    – user3856
    Aug 7, 2016 at 0:13
  • The German language wikipedia has lots of information on these questions, but unfortunately not in a format that is easy to process automatically.
    – user6083
    Nov 24, 2016 at 11:01


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