Cared and uncared populations: understanding unmet care needs of older adults (65+) across different social care systems in Europe

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

April 29, 2023


Population care needs are dynamic. They change throughout individuals’ life courses and are related to the population structure. These needs are particularly demanding during population ageing and may vary depending on how societies cope with them. In this study, we explored the unmet social care needs of individuals in twelve European countries with different social care systems. We used data from the seventh wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to conduct a cross-sectional study of individuals aged 65 and over with care needs (n = 7136). Unmet care needs were measured from an absolute approach. We fitted binomial regression models to explain the relative importance of individuals’ characteristics, health status and different social care systems on unmet needs. The absolute measure shows that 53.02% of the analytical sample faced unmet care needs as they reported limitations and did not receive help. The prevalence of unmet care needs is higher for men than women and for younger than older individuals. Furthermore, we found that individuals living in Mediterranean social care systems have the highest prevalence of these unmet needs. This analysis contributes to the ongoing debate about the challenges posed by ageing populations and their relationship with care.

Published in

European Journal of Ageing


Volume: 20:11






Open Access

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