The study deals with the demographic developments in a parish during the 18th and 19th centuries with regard to the economic and social context and the historical development of mentality. Methologically, the narrow bounds of classical parochial studies patterned on Henry (Crulai) are overstepped by means of a deeper analysis of the determinants of the demographic events. The parish investigated, Leezen - about 40 km northeast of Hamburg - is typical for Schleswig-Holstein and Northern Germany in many respects; for instance in its low infant mortality and moderately high fertility. In its social structure it is marked by a clear opposition between the two numerically dominant groups: the 'Insten' (rural loborers) and the 'Hufner' (independent farmers). The major occupations throughout the period studied were in agriculture carried out on the basis of a medium soil quality, which permitted cultivation of rye, oats, and buckwheat but not wheat. The decisive economic changes in the period studied were the enclosures around 1770 and the transition to intensive cattle raising in the first decades of the 19th century. Three major phases of demographic and (in many respects coincident) economic development can be distinguished. The time between 1720 and 1770 is marked by a recuperation of the losses from the crises up to the Nordic War and a stagnation of the population at a level which represents the traditional maximum. After the Seven Years' War a population boom begins which leads to a doubling of the number of households by 1864. From 1820 onwards changes can be ascertained in so far as the long range trend of economic boom breaks off and picks up again only in the middle of the century. But for various reasons, such as the decline in infant mortality, the population increase does not yet slow down. Between 1803 and 1845 the increase lies at 1% per year; afterwards, the effects of migration begin to be noticeable. Changes in mortality which indicate an improved state of nourishment can be demonstrated in the decrease of spring crises and a decline in child mortality in the last third of the 18th century. Improvements in hygiene are reflected above all in the lowering of mortality among mothers and infants. Infant mortality displays a remarkable turning point around 1820. The explanation for this is likely the greater cleanliness consequent on the increased importance of butter production, but possible also the over-supply of laborers leading to a smaller labor burden for women. Finally, one extraordinary element of infant mortality is the higher mortality of girls, which is clearly concentrated on the first born in farmer families, so that a connection to the interest in a male heir can be ascertained. Developments can likewise be shown in the area of marri¬age and fertility. The rate of illegitimate births and premarital conceptions increases from the 1770's/1780's onward, while the age at marriage temporarily sinks. The affluence due to the economic boom in this agrarian region can thus be seen as a catalyzer for a certain loo¬sing of morals and thus for change in mentality. The improved possibilities of founding an existence by migration in the 19th century strengthen this trend and lead at the same time to a decrease in the quota of remarriages, which was, on the whole, relatively high in this area. Although marital fertility undergoes no radical change in the period under observation such as is represented by the general introduction of birth control in the 1880's, nonetheless, indications of birth limitation can be found. In the 1820's young married couples begin to limit the number of children. This should be seen especially as a consequence of the decline of infant and child mortality; the temporarily worsening economic perspectives may have functioned as an additional impulse. Probably, too, the lower fertility of the rural laborers compared with the independent farmers represents a form of birth limitation. In the period under observation migrations are the decisive regulators of population size. They display a close connection to economic trends, whereby Leezen is to be characterized as a net-emigration area. From the middle of the 1840's the migration especially to Hamburg increases drastically. This leads to a stagnation of the population after 1864.