SHARE survey about to begin across Europe
At the end of October, SHARE survey will begin again. The survey is used to collect data on health, ageing and retirement of people aged 50 and older.
SHARE (Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) takes place simultaneously in 28 European countries. The survey focuses on the individual ageing process and the factors impacting it. In Estonia and other participating European countries, the survey results serve as a knowledge basis for developing and assessing labour market, pension, health and welfare policies.
According to Jana Bruns, project manager at Statistics Estonia, SHARE is unique – its survey sample for years 2011–2024 mostly includes the same people. “Participants respond to a questionnaire every other year, ideally ten times in total. The sample includes over 9,500 persons aged 50 and older, and this year we will interview about 6,600 of them. Also the partners of sample persons participate in the survey. Every time, the survey sample is slightly different, because the people who have turned 50 between the two survey waves are added to the sample and the ones who can no longer respond are left out of the survey.”
The main goal of the survey is to find out how people age. The questions are about health, social relationships, leisure time, financial coping, giving and receiving help and other topics. Also tests are used, which provide objective data that can be compared to people’s self-assessment of their health. “The same questionnaire is used in every survey wave and a special questionnaire is added for the particular wave. This time the focus is on time use and cognitive abilities. More congnitive tests are used, including drawing exercises, which help to understand, for example, how Alzheimer’s disease develops,” explained Luule Sakkeus, SHARE research coordinator in Estonia from the Estonian Insitute for Population Studies at Tallinn University.
SHARE is an opportunity for the state to find out how people are actually doing. “Participants can contribute to improving overall well-being and especially the well-being of future generations,” Bruns added. Previous survey data have played an important role in research and developing policy measures – Estonia has been set as an example in the development of welfare policy.
In Estonia, the survey takes place for the fifth time. It is organised by Statistics Estonia and coordinated by the Estonian Insitute for Population Studies in cooperation with the National Institute for Health Development and institutes of Tallinn University, University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology. The survey period ends in summer 2020. The current survey wave is financed by the European Commission and from the research funds of Tallinn University, its School of Governance, Law and Society and the Estonian Insitute for Population Studies.