The course begins with a broader perspective of demographic challenges in the contemporary welfare state. The course takes a comparative approach, where alternative types of welfare states are reviewed. One central theme of the course considers how changing age structures effect economic and civic development during different periods, as well as how the costs for various components of the welfare state are influenced by demographic change. In order to comprehend how contemporary challenges emerged, an historical perspective is provided of both the evolution of welfare institutions and general demographic trends. The historical pattern of family conditions, childbirth, health and migration is studied, in addition to the role of population change in economic development.