Ireland is different from the other countries in the study in a number of important ways. Apart from Luxembourg, Ireland is the smallest country in the European Community with only 3.5 million people. After more than a century of decline, her population has been increasing faster than the other four countries in the study since 1960, though it is projected to decline slowly after 2000. The trend is largely explained by a higher than average birth-rate. However, the birth-rate has fallen rapidly from four children per woman in 1965 to 2.5 in 1985. Ireland is still a very youthful society with nearly half the population aged under 25 and one-third of all residents under the age of 16. Ireland’s family pattern is moving rapidly towards the rest of Europe but it is still significantly different from Britain and Continental countries.