Category Archives: IPUMS-DHS

26 Jul

Five Ways IPUMS-DHS Can Simplify Your Life

Have you ever formatted what you thought were your final models only to discover that:

  • The survey question you used for your dependent variable had five rather than four variations across surveys?
  • There are two other samples (not in your analysis) in which respondents were asked precisely the question that interests you?
  • There is a better question on women’s employment than the one you’re currently using?
  • A key question was asked about all daughters under 14 in one country but all daughters under 19 in another?
  • The survey skip patterns differ significantly across surveys?

These are among the DHS equivalents of missing the nail and hammering your thumb. Ouch!

Fortunately, with IPUMS-DHS, you can put the metaphorical Band-Aids away. IPUMS-DHS, constructed at the Minnesota Population Center, is a web-based tool for accessing DHS data. It makes error-free comparative analysis (across time or countries) easy. IPUMS-DHS currently covers Africa and Asia and includes 23 countries, 101 samples, and 5000 variables. Why not give it a try?

1) See at a glance which surveys asked certain questions, how, and of whom.

Choose a topic from the drop-down list to see which samples include the groups of questions you want. Click on a variable name to see a comparison across countries. The tabs will guide you to codes and a description (which is especially great for constructed variables, like “Unmet Need”) and a discussion of comparability issues.

2) Compare the frequency of responses to questions and more without downloading a data file.

Clicking on the variable name will also bring up, for every sample, frequencies of responses, an explanation of who was asked the question (called the “Universe”) and an English-language version of the question text.

3) Trust that the same variable name and codes have same substantive content.

While the DHS standard variables simplify researchers’ work, even standard variables (such as V130, RELIGION) may have different responses or varying amounts of detail across samples. Non-standard variables’ names differ widely across DHS samples. IPUMS-DHS gives variables with the same substantive meaning consistent names and codes. This “integration” of the DHS data lets you analyze the data immediately, without investigating and resolving differences across samples.

 

4) Create a customized data file with multiple samples in minutes, and change it just as quickly.

With IPUMS-DHS, you can create a dataset tailored to your specific needs in a snap. Just log in using your existing DHS Program user ID and password, browse variables and samples, and add the ones you want to your “data cart.” (Despite the analogy, the data are completely free.) Indicate your preferred file format and, a minute or two later, your data will be ready to download, unzip, and analyze.

Did you forget a control variable? Want to add information from an additional sample? No problem. Just return to your data cart, click “Revise” and then “Change,” and you can instantly add or subtract variables and samples, and download the new, revised data file.

We encourage you to check out IPUMS-DHS. It could change your life (or at least your research).

Special thanks to our guest blog contributors, Elizabeth Boyle and Miriam King!

Elizabeth Heger Boyle, is Professor of Sociology & Law at the University of Minnesota. She studies the role of international laws and policies on women and children’s health around the world. She has written extensively on the impetus for and impact of laws related to female genital cutting, including the book Female Genital Cutting: Cultural Conflict in the Global Community. Her current research focuses on abortion policies globally and their effects; this includes a 2015 article in the American Journal of Sociology. Professor Boyle is currently co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. Miriam King) on IPUMS-DHS, a National Institute for Child Health and Development grant that integrates Demographic and Health Surveys over time and across countries to make them more user-friendly for researchers. Professor Boyle has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa.

Miriam L. King is a Senior Research Scientist at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.  She has managed data integration projects on the U.S. Current Population Survey, the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, and, most recently, the Demographic and Health Surveys.  Her research has focused on the history of the U.S. census, data integration methods, U.S. historical fertility differences, living arrangements, and disparities in access to insurance for same-sex couples.  Dr. King has a Ph.D. jointly in Demography and History from the University of Pennsylvania.

24 Jun

DHS Data Now Available in Integrated, Customized Package from the Minnesota Population Center

Have you ever wished that you could download just one dataset for multiple surveys with all of the data you want for your analysis in one file? And that the dataset wasn’t so huge and overwhelming? And that the variables in the dataset were all harmonized?

The Minnesota Population Center has been working on the Integrated Demographic and Health Series (IDHS), a free online database that currently includes over 2,000 integrated variables from 76 DHS surveys in 18 countries. (If you know IPUMS data, these are the DHS equivalent.) These variables are harmonized for consistency across time and across countries. The IDHS are also painstakingly documented, letting you, the researcher, know how different items have been defined and coded, with each variable’s codes and frequencies, question wording, universe, meaning, and comparability issues accessible with just a click. The variable selection tool lets you see, at a glance, which surveys have included that specific variable, allowing you to select the variables and surveys you need for your analysis. The customized datasets come packaged with the survey year and country, weights, identifiers, and other sampling variables needed for analysis, and in the format you chose (SAS, Stata, SPSS, ASCII, or CSV file).

IDHS - Use of Family Planning Variables

IDHS – Use of Family Planning Variables

IDHS data are currently available for 18 countries and 76 surveys, allowing for comparative analysis for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as India and Egypt. All of the countries included have had at least 3 DHS surveys dating back to the 1980s, so these harmonized datasets are perfect for trend analysis. Researchers can select either women or children as their unit of analysis. The variables cover questions about the woman herself, such as her education, media exposure, marital history, contraceptive knowledge and use, family size desires, experience of domestic violence, and knowledge about illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and fistula. Other questions relate to the health of the woman’s children under 5, such as antenatal and delivery care, nutrition, vaccinations, and recent diarrheal and respiratory illnesses and treatment.

What’s the difference between IDHS data and DHS datasets? Who should use IDHS data? 

DHS datasets continue to be available for download from The DHS Program website by country. The datasets include all of the data collected in a survey. If you are looking to analyze a single data set, the DHS datasets are likely your best bet. But for a multi survey analysis (among the 18 countries currently included in the IDHS and limited to the women and children), try the harmonized packages from IDHS.

What’s next?

IDHS has funding to continue this project through 2016 and will seek continued funding for another five years of work. They will continue launching data from more countries, new DHS surveys as they become available, and  hope to expand to cover men and households.

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

The DHS Program, ICF
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dhsprogram.com