These days, more and more people in Germany are reaching an advanced or a very advanced age. But little is known about the living situations of very old people, those who are 80 years or older. The purpose of this study of very old people in Germany (D80+) is to show these living situations and the quality of life of very old people comprehensively.

The study of very old people (D80+) is a population representative study, with people who are 80 years old or older living in private households or in institutions, being interviewed. The study is based on the previous study NRW80+, which was conducted in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Integrating the data of NRW80+ into D80+, which is to be conducted in the other 15 states, will provide a detailed insight into this age group in Germany. This is all the more significant, because according to the German Federal Statistical Office this age group already made up 6.2 percent of the total population in Germany in 2017 and it will rise distinctly in the future.

The questionnaire is based on the German Ageing Survey (Deutscher Alterssurvey, DEAS ). This makes it possible to combine the three data sets (DEAS, NRW80+ and D80+) and to analyze the living situations of people of 40 years and older, including very old age. For this purpose, the research instrument of NRW80+ and D80+ is adapted to the situation of very old people. If a person cannot be interviewed (e.g. because of health reasons), so-called “proxy-interviews” will be conducted. This means that another person, who is close to the respondent, can give information in their stead.

Overall the respondents were asked for information on the following topics:

  • Lifestyle and social relationships
  • Health
  • Values and attitudes
  • Biography
  • Economic situation


The study D80+ is funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). It will be conducted jointly by those scientists of the German Centre of Gerontolgy (DZA) and scientists of ceres – Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health  at the University of Cologne.


The following staff members at ceres, University of Cologne are involved:

Link to project homepage: https://www.ceres.uni-koeln.de/forschung/nrw80/

The following staff members at DZA are involved: