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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).


SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, is a research infrastructure for studying the effects of health, social, economic and environmental policies over the life-course of European citizens and beyond. From 2004 until today, 480,000 in-depth interviews with 140,000 people aged 50 or older from 28 European countries and Israel have been conducted. Thus, SHARE is the largest pan-European social science panel study providing internationally comparable longitudinal micro data which allows insights in the fields of public health and socio-economic living conditions of European individuals, both for scientists and policy makers. SHARE has global impact since it not only covers all EU member countries in a strictly harmonized way but additionally is embedded in a network of sister studies all over the world, from the Americas to Eastern Asia.

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. 


The overarching objective of the SHARE-COVID19 project is to understand the non-intended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to devise improved health, economic and social policies.

It aims to identify healthcare inequalities before, during and after the pandemic, to understand the lockdown effects on health and health behaviors, to analyze labor market implications of the lockdown, to assess the impacts of pandemic and lockdown on income and wealth inequality, to mitigate the effects of epidemic control decisions on social relationships and to optimize future epidemic control measures by taking the geographical patterns of the disease and their relationship with social patterns into account as well as to better manage housing and living arrangements choices between independence, co-residence or institutionalization.

The project pursues a transdisciplinary and internationally comparative approach and covers all EU Member States. The Max Planck Society is responsible for the project coordination. The project has started on 1 November 2020 and will end on 30 October 2023.

The European Commission supports SHARE-ERIC’s COVID-19 research project (SHARE-COVID19) by funding through Horizon 2020 and the Coronavirus Global Response initiative launched by President Ursula von der Leyen in May 2020.