The demographic trends of the population of Italy are characterized by a very low fertility rate (in the 1990s the total fertility rate was 1.1-1.3, i.e. one of the lowest in the world) and very rapid aging (Italy was the first country in the world in which people aged 60+ outnumbered people aged less than 20). These trends require continuous and deep changes in the organization of society and in public services to avoid an increasing imbalance between demand and supply. They also require new social policies based on equity, efficiency and rationality. Copyright Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1998.