To assess the relationships existing between landslide evolution and economical development of a rural, highly prone to landslides, area in southern Italy, a demographic analysis covering the time span from 1861 to 2011 has been performed on about 30 municipalities. The work consisted in a detailed description of the demographic features of the studied area, aimed at analysing the growing/decreasing trend in the local populations, as a function of the main historical and hydrological events. The combined analysis of the above elements with data about landslide distribution and their temporal occurrence allowed to evaluate the influence played by slope instability processes in this sector of Apulia region.