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Professor Hilde Sommerseth 

Professor Hilde Sommerseth
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Historical Demography

Fellow Type


Hilde L. Sommerseth, Professor of historical demography at the Department of Archaeology, History, Religious Studies and Theology, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), and director of the Norwegian Historical Data Centre (NHDC).

Sommerseth has decades of experience working with microdata from the historical population censuses and church books of Norway and has from 2015 been a partner in the construction of the Norwegian Historical Population Register (HPR). This register enables researchers to follow individuals who resided in Norway between 1801 and 1964, their life course history nested within and across generations.  Sommerseth and her team at the NHDC are responsible for formatting the HPR data for use by the international research community. This work also involves developing a public platform for dissemination of the register along with interactive tools for analysis.

Sommerseth’s research centres on historical demography, with a focus on the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Intergenerational studies is the nucleus of her interest, stretching from studies on mortality to research on household composition. Key subjects are causes of death, gendering of diseases, human capital, social inequality in health, ethnicity, masculinity, and ageing.

She is a member of several international advisory boards related to population registers, such as Link Lives, the historical sample of the Netherlands, and Britain’s first demographic transition: an integrated geography. She is currently also a board member of the European Society of Historical Demography, the steering committee of SHiP+ “Studying the history of Health in (Port) cities”, and a member of the editorial board of the Norwegian medical journal Michael.

From August 2022 until July 2023, she will join Campop (The Cambridge group for the history of population and social structure) at the University of Cambridge as a visiting scholar and hold a visiting by-fellowship at the Churchill college.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway