New vistas for survey charting Europe's topography of age

If you want to know how Europeans experience retirement and age, why not ask them? A research infrastructure named SHARE has been doing just that, collecting a wealth of data for studies that produce invaluable insights for policymakers. An EU-funded project has expanded the scope of this biennial survey.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 7 May 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesHealth & ageing  |  Public health
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Germany
Add to PDF "basket"

New vistas for survey charting Europe's topography of age

image

© Rawpixel.com #237330799, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com

Health, healthcare, social networks, activities, income and finances: the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) has been putting Europe’s elders under the microscope since a first wave of interviews conducted in 2004. Since then, new rounds have been organised every other year across a growing number of countries, and SHARE has become established as a dedicated European research infrastructure with its own legal identity.

SHARE data is used by scientists to analyse how individuals and populations age and to assess current policies in the light of sound evidence.

The EU-funded project SHARE-DEV3 is supporting the latest extension of the survey’s geographic coverage. It has also enabled the SHARE consortium to upgrade the IT programs and database on which the survey relies and create new content for the seventh wave of interviews, which was conducted in 2017 and involved 28 countries.

‘It has helped ensure the successful preparation and implementation of data collection in all continental Member States of the European Union as well as Switzerland and Israel,’ says SHARE director Axel Börsch-Supan of the Munich Center for the Economics of Aging.

Panoramic view

About 80 000 interviews were carried out as part of this wave, increasing the total number of interviews since the beginning of the survey to some 380 000. Respondents are aged 50 and over.

Crucially, along with responses to the regular SHARE questionnaire, wave 7 collected internationally comparable life-course data on health and socio-economic circumstances, Börsch-Supan points out. This additional input has greatly enhanced the data collected in the three preceding waves, complementing the life-history information already contributed by 20 000 respondents in wave 3, he adds.

The SHARE survey documents faces of age through snapshots taken at two-year intervals. Initially encompassing 12 countries, it now covers more than twice as many – including a number of European states that might not have participated without the support provided by SHARE-DEV3, Börsch-Supan explains.

The SHARE database is interoperable with those of surveys conducted at national level in Ireland and the United Kingdom, with which it forms a pan-European picture, he adds.

So far, some 9 000 researchers from around the world have registered for access to the data, for studies that tend to capitalise on the survey’s cross-national scope or its compatibility with similar efforts abroad, Börsch-Supan notes.

By way of an example, he points to a study that examined SHARE data from 138 European regions to establish how the availability of formal long-term care affects the well-being of individuals acting as informal caregivers to their spouses.

Its outcomes include the observation that the existence of such services in a region is beneficial for spousal caregivers in this area, and that this boost partly derives from the fact that having options gives them a greater sense of control over the care situation, Börsch-Supan explains.

This finding highlights the importance of providing easily accessible long-term care services as a potential alternative to informal care, in view of their relevance not just to potential users themselves, but also to their relatives and to the wider community, he adds.

Always more to learn

SHARE-DEV3, which has been extended until June 2019, is also contributing to the preparations for wave 8 of the SHARE survey, scheduled for September 2019.

And plans for two more waves to be conducted before the end of 2024 are also in the pipeline, Börsch-Supan reports. Both will explore a major milestone for the baby boom generation, whose peak cohorts will be reaching retirement age, he adds.

‘Topics will include how health and well-being will change in the years immediately before and after retirement, how consumption and time use will adapt to the respondents’ new financial and social situation after retirement, and which level and distribution of living standards will emerge from the combination of private and public pension resources,’ Börsch-Supan concludes.

Project details

  • Project acronym: SHARE-DEV3
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 676536
  • Total costs: € 5 493 328
  • EU contribution: € 5 493 328
  • Duration: January 2015 to June 2019

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details