In 1853, the First International Statistical Congress unanimously voted a resolution recommending the establishment of population registers in every country:
It is indispensable to establish in each commune a population register. Each household will occupy one page. The first inscriptions will be entered according to the information provided by the general census, and all mutations that will occur in the composition of households will be noted successively and in order. Administrative measures will provide for the assessment of changes in legal residence, in order that there may be an exact match between the persons crossed out and the new inscriptions.
Such a register has existed in Belgium since 1846. No other country except Sweden, Finland, and Hungary had much experience with such documents in 1853. The resolution was nevertheless ratified in successive International Congresses, but there was no rush to implement it. Several European countries followed suit, including small German states, the Netherlands in 1856, and Italy in 1864. According to a recent United Nations survey, eleven European countries have population registers that trace their origins to the nineteenth century or before: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.