Wave 3

WAVE 3 - The Retrospective Survey (SHARELIFE)

Release 9.0.0
Date 28th March 2024
DOI 10.6103/SHARE.w3.900


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

SHARE-ERIC (2024). Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) Wave 3 – SHARELIFE. Release version: 9.0.0. SHARE-ERIC. Data set. DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w3.900

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


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 Examples

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


SHARE Release Guide


Please find information on old releases below:

Wave 3
26th June 2020
Wave 3
3rd April 2019
Wave 3
19th June 2018
Wave 3
29th March 2018
Wave 3
31st Mar 2017
Wave 3
10th May 2016
Wave 3
24th Nov 2010