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Having Type 2 Diabetes Does Not Imply Retirement before Age 65 in Europe

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The legal retirement age in Europe is around 65, some countries have a slightly higher or lower retirement age. The isolated effect of type 2 diabetes (T2D) on retirement in those aged between 51 and 64 was investigated. Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (Wave 7) was used to analyse 10,794 Europeans with T2D or without diabetes, employed or retired. When socio-demographic, health and well-being characteristics were taken into account, having T2D was not significantly associated with retirement (AOR = 1.021; 95%CI 0.918 to 1.137). The profile of those with or without T2D were very similar, differing between those retired or employed. Regardless of T2D, age and gender, Europeans with two or more chronic diseases, limitations with activities, and health problems that limit paid work, tended more to be retired. In contrast those married and with higher levels of education were less prone to be retired. The main finding is that among Europeans in their fifties and early sixties, having T2D does not per se increase significantly the likelihood of retiring before age 65. Those that retired before the legal age probably have or will have limited financial resources necessary for health care, due to their lower level of education and the fact that most of them will not receive a full old-age pension. Among those, T2D can represent an additional vulnerability with ageing, since diabetes is a chronic progressive illness that can lead to health complications, which imply medical costs.

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This paper uses data from SHARE Wave 7 (DOI:, see: Börsch-Supan, A., M. Brandt, C. Hunkler, T. Kneip, J. Korbmacher, F. Malter, B. Schaan, S. Stuck, S. Zuber (2013). Data Resource Profile: The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). International Journal of Epidemiology, for methodological details.

The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through FP5 (QLK6-CT-2001-00360), FP6 (SHARE-I3: RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE: CIT5-CT-2005-028857, SHARELIFE: CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and FP7 (SHARE-PREP: N°211,909, SHARE-LEAP: N°227,822, SHARE M4: N°261,982). Additional funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01_AG09740-13S2, P01_AG005842, P01_AG08291, P30_AG12815, R21_AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG_BSR06–11, OGHA_04–064) and from various national funding sources is gratefully acknowledged (see


This article was supported by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) through the operation POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007746 funded by the Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização – COMPETE2020 and by National Funds through FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia within CINTESIS, R&D Unit (reference UID/IC/04255/2019).

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Correspondence to Margarida Fonseca Cardoso.

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Cardoso, M.F., Brandão, M.P. Having Type 2 Diabetes Does Not Imply Retirement before Age 65 in Europe. Population Ageing 15, 307–318 (2022).

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