«The first and indispensable condition of the many reforms that were expected from Parliament, was to know the population of the Kingdom, and the way in which it was distributed in its different provinces». With these words the member of Parliament, Leopoldo Galeotti (1865), opened his account of the first Italian Census which took place at the end of 1861, only nine months after national unification.
This issue of «Popolazione e Storia» contains a selection of papers presented at the conference «I censimenti fra passato, presente e futuro. Le fonti di stato dal XIV secolo» («The censuses between past, present and future. Population enumerations from the 14th Century»), organised by the Italian Society of Historical Demography (SIDES), in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). This event opened the celebrations of 150 years of Italian unification. The Conference, which took place in Turin in November 2010, almost 150 years after the first national Census and in view of the 15th census, was aimed at highlighting the importance of national censuses in analysing the social and demographic characteristics of the Italian population, its history and evolution over time.