In the course of this study of contemporary French society reference has frequently been made to other Western post-industrial nations, particularly Great Britain and the German Federal Republic, in order to highlight the similarities and differences in the ways in which they are developing. There is much evidence to suggest that countries in the Western world are adopting more and more the same models of behaviour and attitudes. Similar changes are occurring in population structure: due to greater life expectancy and fluctuations in the birthrates and deathrates, the proportion of young and elderly people in relation to the population of working age has altered dramatically, creating problems associated with the dependency ratio ; the acceleration of urbanisation and industrialisation in the post-war period has encouraged migratory movements and brought about major shifts in the socio-occupational structure of the population. Family patterns and the relationships between the generations are changing; the new models are being reinforced by the norms presented in the media, and they are sanctioned by legislation. The demand as of right for a higher standard of social welfare provision, including facilities for education and leisure, is common to all post-industrial societies, as emphasis shifts from quantitative to qualitative concerns.
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