The HHB Project

Historical Household Budgets

Work in progress

The website is under construction, contents are only partially available.

Households accounts...

... tell the story of wellbeing of the citizens in the world.

Growth Incidence Curves

Long-run growth does not benefit all to the same extent

Historical Household Budgets

Two Centuries of Well-being, Poverty and Inequality Around the World.

The Historical Household Budgets (HHB) project is an investigation of the long-run evolution of living standards around the world on the basis of household budgets. The HHB database contains hundreds of thousands of family-level records, covers two centuries (1800-today), and embraces the five continents of the globe. HHB researchers are interested in monetary indicators – income, wealth and expenditure, wages and prices – as well as in non-monetary dimensions of well-being, such as health and education outcomes, labor force participation, dwelling characteristics, and many others. This website is the official HHB hub, where data and sources are housed and made available, innovative methods and new findings are publicized. The writing of a new history of the well-being of world citizens has begun: all scholars are invited to join the HHB project and contribute to the on-going research. Inquire within.

Household Budgets Map

We have just updated our database and added new budgets. Browse the HHB map!


General stats

300 Household

Time Coverage (%)

  • Pre WWII
  • Post WWII

Geographic Coverage (%)

  • Europe
  • North America
  • Asia
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Oceania
  • 63
  • 16
  • 10
  • 5
  • 3
  • 1

Household Characteristics

Rural vs Urban


Economic Sector of Activity


Household Size (%)

Latest news

Life @HHB: On July 9 the 3d HHB Internal Review Meeting

July 6, 2016

    Next Saturday, July 9, the HHB Team will continue the series of seminars accompaning all the stages of the project. The third meeting will see an internal discussion on some research works based on household budgets data, soon part of the HHBD currently under construction.


    h09.25: Start;
    h09.30: Internal migration, housing and poverty in Fascist Rome: the case of baraccati (1924-1933) - Stefano Chianese, PhD;

    h10.15: On the historical use of standard budgets - Francesco Olivanti, BA;

    h11.00: COFFEE BREAK;

    h11.15: Poor Law Application and Report Books in Hertfordshire, 1876-1907 - Agnese Gatti;

    h11.35: Poverty Levels ...

    HHB launches its Working Paper Series

    June 12, 2016

      With the Working Paper no. 1 - the HHB manifesto, "On Historical Household Budgets", authored by the PIs of the Project - HHB launches its dedicated WP Series.
      The Series is meant to host papers related to the study of household budget and living standards, both in terms of economic and historical analysis, methodology or surveying the sources available. More information in the brand-new online hub of the Series, where soon you will find also the other forthcoming publications.

      Read the WP no. 1 also within the Working Papers of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, HHB's main partner and sponsor.

      HHBD update: new source from Czechoslovakia 1920s: the "Bulletin of the National Statistical Office"

      May 27, 2016

        Covering the years from 1920 to 1929, a new source about living standards in Czechoslovakia, obtained from the archives of the Czech Statistical Office based in Prague, will soon join the HHB database.
        This series of publications reporting household budgets, published almost regularly from 1922 to 1931, is extremely rich, with details about household composition, occupations, revenues, expenditures, and food and beverage consumption. On average, about one hundred variables per year.
        Provided that Czechoslovakia became a sovereign state in 1918, as a consequence of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI, this source represents a complete novelty for the ...

        Prof. Jacob Weisdorf (University of Southern Denmark) joins HHB Researchers

        May 18, 2016

          HHB welcomes Jacob Weisdorf - Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Denmark - as a new HHB Researcher.

          Prof. Weisdorf is also a research fellow at CEPR in London and a research associate of CAGE in Warwick. He holds a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Copenhagen and one in economic history from Lund University. His main research area is long-run economic growth, with particular focus on the economic and demographic history of England. He currently works on a project using historical marriage data from Africa with Felix Meier zu Selhausen and organizes the Sound Workshop and the ...

          The digitization and harmonization of Leplaysian family monographs has begun

          April 28, 2016

            HHB announces that the digitization of the Leplaysian family monographs has now started, beginning with the HHB record #1: the monograph authored by Ubaldino Peruzzi - future ministry within the first Italian government -, describing a family of sharecroppers living in Bagno a Ripoli, near Florence.
            Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play (1805-1882) was an engineer, whose notoriety is due to his interest for sociology and for his studies of living conditions all over the world. He developed a specific research method, consisting in a very detailed scheme for the collection of household level data. Basing on this successful scheme, he ...

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