Survey draws health and retirement picture of Europe’s elderly

Data on 22,000 people aged over 50 in eleven countries has been made available for scientists and social security planners to understand the challenges of Europe’s ageing society better.

The results of a European survey on health, ageing and retirement (SHARE) were presented on 28 April in Brussels. The survey gathered data on 22,000 people aged 50 and over in ten EU countries from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean as well as Switzerland. 

Key findings of the survey:

  • Northern Europeans are healthier and wealthier but southern Europeans live longer 
  • Education keeps us fit – rich people are healthier
  • Incentives to early retirement create early retirement
  • Agreeable work place conditions support later retirement
  • Geriatric care needs improvement

“SHARE…permits researchers in public health, economics, and the social sciences to…compare countries and regions within Europe. Doing so will help us understand how culture, history and public policy – particularly important in these times of social and economic reform – affects the lives of Europeans over the age of 50,” said Professor Axel Börsch-Supan, the co-ordinator of the Survey (Manheim Research Institute for the Economics of Ageing).

The data has been made available free of charge for scientific use on a website. It gathers indicators which influence health and retirement behaviour including education, the welfare system, work place conditions, family and social networks, consumption, income and wealth.

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