- There was enormous increase in population all over Europe. In most countries there were more seekers of jobs than employment.
- Population from rural areas migrated to the cities to live in overcrowded slums.
- Small producers in towns were often faced with stiff competition from imports of cheap machine-made goods from England.
- In those regions of Europe where the aristocracy still enjoyed power, peasants struggled under the burden of feudal dues and obligations.
- The rise of food prices or a year of bad harvest led to widespread pauperism in town and country.