In 19th century Europe, an efficient state administration implied the existence of statistical offices which conducted the collection and analysis of a large number of various data. The establishment and development of such an office in Serbia was mostly due to one person – Vladimir Jakšić (1824–1899). He studied political economy at the Universities of Tubingen and Heidelberg at the time when the enthusiasm for statistics was at its peak. He took a special interest in statistics while listening to lectures of Johannes Fallati, a leading academic statistician in Germany at the time. After he had completed his studies in 1847, Jakšić entered the civil service – first as a servant in the Ministry of Finance, then as a professor at the Liceum, and started to analyse and publish intensively various statistical data collected by the public administration. He was mainly interested in demographic data collected through censuses and registers of vital data, but also the data

related to agriculture, livestock, industry and commerce. Jakšić firmly believed statistics to be essential for practical administration and state modernisation. Therefore he proposed in 1850 to relevant authorities the establishment of a statistical office, but this suggestion was not accepted until 1862, when the National Statistics Office was set up within the Ministry of Finance. Jakšić was appointed head of the Office. At the time, his personnel consisted of only two civil servants. The following year, in 1863, the Office initiated the publication of the statistical edition titled ”Državopis Srbije”. Until 1894 twenty volumes of this series, containing various statistical data, were released. The publication of statistical material continued within the new edition ”Statistika Kraljevine Srbije” and various other statistical editions and volumes which were printed intensively in the late 19th and early 20th century. Jakšić strived to keep up with the current trends in European statistics. He therefore participated in many international statistical congresses (1857 in Vienna, 1863 in Berlin, 1867 in Florence, 1869 in the Hague, 1872 in St. Petersburg, 1876 in Pest etc.). The National Statistics Office was a member of the International Statistical Institute since its foundation in 1885. After Jakšić’s retirement in 1888, endeavours in the statistical domain were continued and further developed by Bogoljub Jovanović. In spite of evident advancement in generating statistical knowledge, the initial idea of its practical use in political reasoning and social policy making was not accomplished. At the end of the 19th century, statistics served as representational rather than instrumental purposes of the state, offering more or less flattering visions of the nation rather than policy information.


Published in Beograd
Year of publication 2017
Author Aleksandra Vuletić
Publisher Istorijski iinstitut Beograd
Publication Država i politike upravljanja 18-20. vek
Pages 227 - 246
  • census
  • state
  • statistics
  • Bogoljub Jovanović
  • Vladimir Jakšić

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How to cite this publication:
Istorijski Institut, portal Žene kroz istoriju. "STATISTIKA U SLUŽBI DRŽAVNE UPRAVE I UNAPREĐENJA NARODNOG BLAGOSTANJA U SRBIJI 19. VEKA". Access date: 25. June 2022. URL: