If someone would have left the Western world some 50 years ago and would have come back at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century what would be his first observation? Maybe the completely different built-up areas nowadays with the much more intensified traffic streams, maybe the cell phones, I-pods, blackberries and other electronic equipment that everyone seems to be carrying around all of the day. If he was a she, and especially if she was a sociologist she might be surprised by women's presence in the public room. And if he was a demographer he would be caught by the high number of older people in the streets and the relative absence of young people, except for those with some sort of immigrant background. You don't have to look far, neither do you have to be a scholar to notice two of the major changes in Western societies during the past few decades: women's emancipation and the changing composition of the population.