This article highlights the findings of a 3-stage analysis conducted in 1982-85 by the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Fertility Trends: The 1st phase involved a demographic analysis of reproductive behavior in the past decade, the 2nd focused on the background of recent fertility trends, and the 3rd examined possible consequences of these trends. Participating countries included Belgium, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. During the 1970s; most of these countries experienced a continuation of the fertility decline begun in the mid-60s, resulting in the large majority of countries in below-replacement reproduction. In general, the effect of the fertility decline on the birth rate has been partially compensated by the favorable age structure of the reproductive age population. In the 1st half of the 1970s, both nuptiality and reproductive behavior in marriage contributed to the fertility decline; in the 2nd half, marital fertility showed increases. The fertility decline in the 1st half of the 1970s largely reflected the steep decline in fertility among younger age groups, whereas a rise in the fertility in the older age groups was a characteristic of the late 1970s. However, the stabilization or even slight increase in fertility noted in the late 1970s in several European countries reverted to a decline in the early 1980s. In general, small family size appears to be viewed as a good compromise between pyschological and economic costs and benefits. These low fertility trends have had a dramatic effect on household composition and have also facilitated women's personal growth and economic independence. These trends are expected to lead to demographic aging of the population and alleviation of pressures on the labor market. All such changes will require adaptive population policy measures. It is important that such policies do not endanger achievements of modernization such as human rights, fertility regulation, and female employment.