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SHARELIFE - The Retrospective Survey (Wave 3)

DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w3.500

In order to access the data, please review the information here.


Release: 5.0.0

Date: May 10th 2016



When using data from this dataset, please cite the dataset as follows:

Börsch-Supan, A. (2016). Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) Wave 3 – SHARELIFE. Release version: 5.0.0. SHARE-ERIC. Data set. DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w3.500

Please also cite the following publications in addition to the SHARE acknowledgement:

-          Börsch-Supan, A., M. Brandt, K. Hank and M. Schröder (Eds). (2011). The individual and the welfare state. Life histories in Europe. Heidelberg: Springer.

-          Schröder, M. (2011). Retrospective data collection in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. SHARELIFE methodology. Mannheim: Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA).

-          Börsch-Supan, A., Brandt, M., Hunkler, C., Kneip, T., Korbmacher, J., Malter, F., Schaan, B., Stuck, S., Zuber, S. (2013). Data Resource Profile: The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). International Journal of Epidemiology DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyt088.



SHARELIFE is the third wave of data collection for SHARE, which focuses on people's life histories. Almost 30,000 men and women across 13 European countries took part in this round of the survey. The respondents are representative for the European population aged 50 and over in Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden), Central Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands), and the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy and Greece), as well as two transition countries (the Czech Republic and Poland).

SHARELIFE links individual micro data over the respondents’ entire life with institutional macro data on the welfare state. It thereby allows assessing the full effect of welfare state interventions on the life of the individual. Changes in institutional settings that influence individual decisions are of specific interest to evaluate policies throughout Europe.

The SHARELIFE questionnaire contains all important areas of our respondents’ lives, ranging from partners and children over housing and work history to detailed questions on health and health care. With this variety SHARELIFE constitutes an ideal interdisciplinary dataset for research in the fields of sociology, economics, gerontology, and demography.

The data collection for SHARELIFE took place between autumn 2008 and summer 2009. The SHARELIFE data can be linked to the existing data of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

Retrospective information collected in SHARELIFE (Wave 3)

Questionnaire Modules


Start of the Interview

Year and month of birth, sex

Children History

Pregnancies, births, children characteristics, maternity leave

Partner History

Living arrangements, marriages, divorces

Accommodation History

Residences (country, region), moves, types of accommodation, ownership

Childhood Circumstances (Age 10)

Accommodation features, number of books, school performance

Work History

Employment status, job characteristics, income

Work Quality

Effort, demand, control, job circumstances

Disability Benefits

Disability leaves, work reduction, disability pension

Financial History

Investments in stocks, funds, insurance uptake, retirement savings

Health History

Hospital stays, illnesses, diseases, current self-rated health

Health Care History

Vaccinations, doctor visits, preventive check-ups, health behaviours

General Life

Periods of happiness, stress, financial hardship, hunger, persecution, oppression

Interviewer Observations

Willingness to answer, understanding of questions, type of building, neighbourhood


Further information:

FAQs about the SHARE dataset

Questionnaire Wave 3

SHARELIFE Release Guide 5.0.0 (PDF)