SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, is a longitudinal micro-data infrastructure created in response to a communication by the European Commission (2000) to the Council and the European Parliament, which identified population ageing and its social and economic challenges to growth and prosperity to be among the most pressing challenges of the 21st century in Europe. SHARE has also become one of the most prestigious social science infrastructures and was in 2011 the first to be appointed a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) by the European Council.
Sweden has since the onset of SHARE in 2002 participated in all the six waves of data collection project and is, through the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), member of the SHARE-ERIC since 2014. Every other year since 2004, SHARE has provided longitudinal micro data on the changing health, economic and social living conditions of Europeans aged 50 and over. To date, around 123,000 individuals have been interviewed (more than 293,000 interviews). SHARE is a key asset for ageing research in Europe and lays the foundations for empirical research through many disciplines, including epidemiology, gerontology, biology, medicine, psychology, public health, health policy, demography, economics, sociology, and statistics.
The overarching objective of SHARE is to better understand the interactions between bio-medical factors, the socio-economic environment and policy interventions in the ageing European populations. SHARE aims to achieve this objective by providing a research infrastructure for fundamental science as well as a tool for policy evaluation and design. Initiated in 2002, SHARE is scheduled to launch, all in all, 10 data collection waves. At present sevenwaves have been fulfilled and six waves are available to the research community. Wave seven was fielded during 2017. From wave 7 and onwards eight new countries entered the project, which means that 27 European countries are now participants in the SHARE. Since 2011, the Swedish part of SHARE is located at Umeå University and the Umeå team has so far had the full responsibility for the preparations and launching of wave 5–8 in Sweden.