Australia in 20 years time will most likely have the same pattern of family life that exists in Sweden today. So the demographic trends in Sweden interest me: they tell us a bit about what's in store for us.
I recently had a look through some statistics for Sweden provided by the Council of Europe. Two things struck me. First, Sweden seems to have missed out on the baby boom of the 1960s. If you look at completed fertility rates (the actual number of children born to women by their mid-40s), there hasn't really been much of a change over the years.
The completed fertility rate has stayed between a peak of 2.16 for those women born in 1933 and a low of 1.94 for those born in 1967.
The second interesting statistic is the great change in marriage rates for women. A Swedish woman born in 1936 had a 92% chance of marrying. A steady decline set in for those women born after 1942. For women born in 1967 (my generation of women) there was only a 59% chance of ever marrying.
Where will it end?
(For the statistics, go to the bottom of this page and click on the links to the Excel charts.)