The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE) is part of the first longitudinal comparative study of its kind and of such scope in Europe. It forms a multidisciplinary and multinational database of micro data on health, socio-economic status and social and family networks of approximately 25000 individuals aged 50 and older living in Europe and in Israel.

In the wave I, conducted in 2004, data were collected from 11 countries representing the variety of European regions from Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden), through central Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Netherlands) to the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy and Greece). In Israel, wave I data were collected conducted in 2005-2006 from 1760 households (2557 participants). In Europe, wave II took place 2006-2007 across 13 countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Poland); in Israel wave II is currently underway.

The SHARE project was inspired by the American Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and by the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). SHARE's advantage over these is the unification of different types of public policies, cultures and historical traditions in a variety of European countries. This makes SHARE a unique and innovative database.

The data encompass variables on health (e.g. self-reporting on health condition and physical and cognitive functioning, as well as health habits and use of health services), psychological condition (e.g. mental health and wellbeing, and life satisfaction), economic circumstances (e.g. current activities and occupations, work characteristics and relations, working after retirement age, source and structure of current income, consumption, housing and education), and social support (e.g. help from family members, transfer of funds and assets, social networks and volunteer activity).

Other variables and indicators are those created by the AMANDA RTD project, according to the fifth framework program of the European Union. The data is available to the entire research community free of charge.

In Israel the survey is headed by Prof. Howard Litwin of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the survey is sponsored by several important institutions: the Israel National Insurance Institute, the United States National Institute on Aging, the German-Israeli Foundation, and the European Union.

More information about this project can be found at

http://www.share-project.org/ ; http://igdc.huji.ac.il/Default.aspx?HostSiteID=1