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The Baltic Sea States Project

On the edge of societies: New vulnerable populations, emerging challenges for social policies, and future demands for social innovation. The experience of the Baltic Sea States

In the near future, Europe will face new challenges related to the consequences of demographic change. Population ageing is inevitable in most European states due to long-term population trends. As a result, social and health policies increasingly focus on the circumstances and effects of longer lives. Such polices aim to promote active and healthy ageing, encourage longer working lifetimes and design new public-private pension arrangements to ensure adequate material well-being in old age. However, we must be more aware of the most vulnerable population groups to ensure that every part of society is achieving healthy and active ageing. Little is known about those who have greater exposure to socio-economic disadvantages, deteriorating health conditions or other individual stress factors. To better understand the current situation and long-term trends of social vulnerability, we must increase research collaboration within the global community. This is imperative for cross-country analysis of outcomes associated with certain welfare-state regimes and varying political settings and historical backgrounds.

Conducted by

  • Ulrich Becker (Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, Germany - MPISoc)
  • Mikko Myrskylä (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany - MPIDR)
  • Axel Börsch-Supan (Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, Germany - MPISoc)
  • James W. Vaupel (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany - MPIDR)

in collaboration with:

Maarten Jacob Bijlsma (MPIDR), Aimie Bouju (MPIDR/Population Europe), Jennifer Caputo (MPIDR), Andreas Edel (MPIDR/Population Europe), Pavel Grigoriev (MPIDR), Andreas Höhn (MPIDR), Yaoyue Hu (MPIDR), Christian Hunkler (MPISoc), Aiva Jasilioniene (MPIDR), Domantas Jasilionis (MPIDR), Dmitri A. Jdanov(MPIDR), May Khourshed (MPISoc), Fanny Annemarie Kluge (MPIDR), Emily Lines (MPIDR/Population Europe), Diana López-Falcón (MPISoc), Romuald Méango (MPISoc), Jessica Nisén (MPIDR), Anna Oksuzyan (MPIDR), Teodora Petrova (MPISoc), Vladimir M. Shkolnikov (MPIDR), Simone Schneider (MPISoc), Robert Stelter (MPIDR), Tobias Vogt (MPIDR), Ann Zimmermann (MPIDR/Population Europe).


The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) provides cross-national micro data on social and family networks, health, and socio-economic status of individuals 50 years of age and older. The panel survey covers 27 European countries in addition to Israel, and so far has followed participants through 7 waves of surveys between 2004 and 2017. When coupled with institutional macro data on the welfare state, SHARE aids in evaluating the effects of social programs and policies on individual variables, the analysis of trends and relationships driven by demographics, welfare structures, and more.

Additionally, the multidisciplinary nature of the SHARE survey makes the data suitable for research in a range of fields such as sociology, economics, gerontology, and demography.  

SPLASH offers contextual data for the analysis of SHARE and provides access to the welfare context variables collected for the analysis of SHARELIFE (Wave 3), the retrospective third wave of SHARE, as well as those on health-care context collected in the framework of the project SHAREDEV. 

All SHARELIFE and SHAREDEV-related variables are identified by the corresponding keywords.