he demographic information we have concerning the late Byzantine period is scant, and refers to particular periods of time as well as to particular geographical regions. Its fragmentary and often incomplete or insufficient nature makes it very difficult to draw general conclusions as to the demographic structure of the Byzantine state. A main source of information is the so-called praktika, that is tax records, in which all the assets possessed by an individual were often recorded. Studies have been carried out mainly regarding the Macedonian area during the first half of the 14th century as well as the Peloponnese, in which are analysed, among others, numerical data regarding the population, such as the number of inhabitants or the ratios by sex or age.
In outlining the demographic evolution of the late Byzantine period, the first thing we notice is the sharp increase in the population during the period of the Empire of Nicaea, as a result of the large number of people who migrated there. Naturally, as is usually the case, there was a corresponding economic development. However, after 1261, the population of the Byzantine state began to decrease in numbers, while at the same time its mobility increased considerably. The reasons for this are directly related to the economic as well as to the social and political situation, which was particularly unstable and deteriorating during the last centuries of Byzantium. Moreover, factors such as epidemics and enemy invasions worsened the already unfavourable living conditions of the population, and negatively affected its growth.