As Minister for Social and Family Affairs it is my pleasure to publish this report on '
Families in Ireland: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends'. The report is an important resource for all those who seek to understand the changes which have taken place in families in Ireland over the past decades.
The family, in its different forms, is in a constant state of change and is an issue for a number of areas of public policy. In order to inform discussion of family issues, it is therefore useful to take stock and attempt to gain an overview of where family life now stands. The purpose of this document, which has been prepared at the request of the Family Affairs Unit in the Department of Social and Family Affairs, is to do that. It aims to bring together a range of information on central aspects of family life and highlight key features and trends.
The topics covered in the report can be classified under three broad headings: partnership, including marriage and cohabitation, parents and children and other care-giving relationships in the family.