Part 3
Projects & Landmarks
Social & Cultural Innovation / Landmark


Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe

Multidisciplinary and cross-national panel database of microdata of individuals aged 50 or older


The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) is a multidisciplinary database of microdata on health, socio-economic status, social and family networks of more than 120.000 individuals from 27 European countries plus Israel, aged 50 or older. SHARE aims at documenting and better understanding the repercussions of demographic ageing for individuals and the European society as a whole, and forming a sound scientific basis for countermeasures adopted by health and social policy. SHARE’s scientific method is based on a panel design that grasps the dynamic character of the population ageing process in all relevant aspects. Rigorous procedural guidelines and program ensure an ex-ante harmonized cross-national design. The data are harmonised with the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and are accessible free of charge to the scientific community.

SHARE was identified as successfully implemented in the ESFRI Roadmap 2010 and was the first RI to be established as European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in March 2011.


To date, SHARE has collected six panel Waves – 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 – of current living circumstances and one wave of retrospective life histories – 2008, SHARELIFE; the main data collection of Wave 7 took place in 2017 and the release of Wave 7 data is scheduled for spring 2019. With the public release of updated data on panel Waves in March 2018, the data available to the scientific community are based on more than 297.000 interviews administered on about 120.000 respondents and collected in 28 countries. A comprehensive overview of the up-to-date data sets of the different SHARE waves as well as additional data sets are available via the SHARE Research Data Center.

SHARE is also engaged in several additional data dissemination activities: easySHARE, a simplified dataset for training and teaching purposes, and the Job Episodes Panel, a refined panel dataset spanning the entire working life of SHARELIFE respondents, were both released already in 2013 and updated recently. In 2017, SHARE released an update of the Job Episodes Panel, now including information on migration histories, fertility histories and relationship histories, as well as contextual variables on pension institutions.

SHARE has stimulated the publication of about 950 journal articles since the first data release in 2005, or more than 70 per year on average. Trends in publication number are showing that the scientific output is increasing over time. By Q1 2018, SHARE has more than 8.000 officially registered data users. Most of the users are from European countries, but there is also an increase in scientific operators from the US and other countries worldwide which may partly be due to the comparability of SHARE data with other international ageing surveys, such as HRS in the US, ELSA in the UK, and others. Most users of SHARE reside in Germany; Netherlands is second, before the UK and the US.


Many of the SHARE findings have strong policy implications with large economic and societal impacts. SHARE with its broad data on the economic, social and health situation of European citizens enables Member States to base difficult economic and social decisions on evidence rather than beliefs. The SHARE data permit an accurate account of who gains and who loses economically from a policy change because the data capture the life circumstances of Europe’s citizens which vary so much not only within, but also between Member States.

SHARE has developed innovative software for electronic survey operations, including designing questionnaires, translating them, administering them to respondents, monitoring fieldwork, and creating the databases. In addition, SHARE has innovated the health measurement in large population surveys by introducing physical performance measures − grip strength, chair stand, peak flow − and dried blood spot sampling (DBSS) using devices and materials from small/medium-size companies.

legal status
ERIC, 2011
political support
lead country
members countries
The full list of research institutions involved must be found in the website of the RI
Roadmap Entry
Preparation Phase
Implementation/Construction Phase
Operation Start
estimated costs
capital value
250 M€
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
18 M€/year

Munich, Germany