Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe
General Info


Munich, Germany

legal status




The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) is a research infrastructure for studying the effects of health, social, economic and environmental policies over the life-course of European citizens and beyond. From 2004 until today, 530,000 in-depth interviews with 140,000 people aged 50 or older from 28 European countries and Israel have been conducted. Thus, SHARE is the largest pan-European social science panel study providing internationally comparable longitudinal micro data which allows insights in the fields of public health and socio-economic living conditions of European individuals, both for scientists and policy makers. SHARE has global impact since it not only covers all EU member countries in a strictly harmonized way but additionally is embedded in a network of sister studies all over the world, from the Americas to Eastern Asia. SHARE has become ever more important as a tool for evidence-based policy making due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. SHARE is the ideal database to study the non-intended socio-economic and health consequences of the epidemiological containment decisions and the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic due to its life-course and multidisciplinary approach combining health with socio-economic data. The European Commission supports a new COVID-19 research project (SHARE-COVID19) with funds provided by Horizon 2020 and the Coronavirus Global Response. SHARE has become a major pillar of the European Research Area over the last years. It was selected as one of the projects to be implemented in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2006 and given a new legal status as the first ever European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in March 2011. Since 2016 it is an ESFRI landmark. SHARE is centrally coordinated at the SHARE Berlin Institute (SBI), directed by Prof. Dr. David Richter. Managing Director of SHARE-ERIC is Prof. Dr. h.c. Axel Börsch-Supan, Ph.D. and Deputy Managing Director is Prof. Dr. hab. Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak.
Total Investment Design Preparation Implementation Operation 17 M€/year Project Landmark 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 RM06 RM08 RM10 RM16 RM18 RM21 LA24
Roadmap Entry
as project: 2006
as landmark: 2016
Total investment
Design Phase
Preparation Phase
Implementation Phase
Operation start
17 M€/year
In general, 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). In times of the pandemic, SHARE gained special value: The data collected in the SHARE Corona Survey allow examining in-depth how individuals are coping with the health-related and socioeconomic impact of COVID-19. The great advantage of these data is the possibility to measure and interpret differences in a cross-country and a longitudinal dimension. SHARE’s embeddedness in a worldwide network of harmonized ageing surveys permits European and even worldwide comparisons of how well the healthcare and social systems have responded to the pandemic and which lessons should be drawn for the future. Moreover, the use of data from previous waves allows comparing this crisis’ socioeconomic impact with previous hardships, for example the economic crisis in 2008. Furthermore, in November 2020, the SHARE-COVID19 project has started. The overarching objective of the project is to understand the non-intended consequences of the epidemic control decisions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and to devise improved health, economic and social policies.
The purpose of the SHARE is to create a unique dataset for studying the effects of health, social, economic and environmental policies over the life-course of European citizens and beyond aged 50 plus. The entire scientific research community worldwide can access the data free of charge. Access is possible after each researcher has registered individually with the SHARE Research Data Center and agreed to the Conditions pertaining to the use of the SHARE data. The data are provided according to the FAIR principles for two of the most common statistical software packages: Stata and SPSS. The metadata of the SHARE survey data (such as questionnaires or show cards) is provided on the SHARE website in a generic English version as well as in each language of the participating countries. Moreover, the DDI based SHARE Data & Documentation Tool (DDT) is provided to users as a fast, customizable, easy-to-use web interface for browsing and searching the SHARE (meta)data. SHARE uses Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to make datasets permanently identifiable and locatable. The repository of DataCite Fabrica links every DOI to a set of metadata, a collection of bibliographical and content information, referring to the registered dataset (title, author, publication date, copyright etc.). SHARE puts a lot of effort in gaining users from all kinds of scientific disciplines by publishing information on SHARE data via newsletters, the SHARE website, social media, presenting the survey at scientific conferences, holding user conferences as well as user trainings all over Europe.
D I G I T E N E E N V H & F P S E
SHARE has teams in 28 European countries and Israel. Every participating SHARE country has a country team located e.g. at a university in the respective country. They present SHARE on a national level and take care of all national SHARE activities. SHARE has global impact since it not only covers all EU member countries in a strictly harmonized way but additionally is embedded in a network of sister studies all over the world, from the Americas to Eastern Asia. SHARE is complementary through harmonisation with its sister surveys on ageing: HRS in the US; ELSA, NICOLA and HAGIS in the UK; TILDA in Ireland; CHARLS in China; ELSI in Brasil; JSTAR in Japan; KLoSA in Korea; LASI in India; MHAS in Mexico; AL-SEHA in Egypt; HAALSI ; MARS in Malaysia; and HART in Thailand. SHARE cooperates closely with other social sciences landmarks and initiatives in the European landscape: CESSDA, ESS, GGP, GUIDE (ESFRI road map), Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC). Finally, within the ERIC Forum, SHARE cooperates with 28 ERICs.