Using a mixture of economic and demographic analysis, this book studies the changing patterns of family formation over the last twenty years. A strength of the book is the data and analysis included on Japan and Western countries, which have previously been less researched than the developing world. The first part explores the effects of economic considerations on family formation. Topics covered include the correlation between levels of cohabitation and personal economic resources and modelling the changes in optimal timing of childbearing in Britain, using the earnings profile of the mothers. The second part deals explicitly with the impact of demographic patterns on economic behaviour, and especially with the distribution of economic resources as a smaller working population supports a growing population of the elderly. The data used is from Sweden, Japan, and France, and the economic models used find that lower consumption and greater inequality is the likely implication for the future.