Based mainly on experience and research in Western European and Englishspeaking countries, I have argued that low fertility in advanced societies today has been an unintended outcome of two major waves of social and economic change, social liberalism and economic restructuring (McDonald 2006a). Both these waves have enhanced individual aspirations in relation to the quality of personal and economic lives. However, in differing cultural and welfare environments, both have brought pressure to bear upon the capacity to form and maintain families.