21 Mar

7 Tips to Matching DHS Final Report Tables

Can't match DHS Final Report tables?
Feeling frustrated because you can’t match DHS Final Report tables in your statistical software?


Our new four-part video series shows the Top 7 Tips & Tricks for Matching DHS Final Report Tables.

In this four-part video series, we will be covering the top 7 tips and tricks to matching The DHS Program Final Reports using a statistical software program.

The videos will guide you through the following questions:

  1. Are you using the correct data file?
  2. Are you using the correct denominator of cases?
  3. Are you using the correct variable(s)?
  4. Are you properly recoding?
  5. Are you applying the correct weights?
  6. Are you selecting the correct software specific code?
  7. Are you properly coding the tabulation commands in your statistical program?

Watch the four videos in the series below on Matching DHS Final Report tables to get all the details on the top 7 tips and tricks.

Additional help can be found on our website and the User Forum.
01 Mar

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Madagascar

De gauche à droite: José Miguel Guzmán, Louise Ranaivo, Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy, Irène Hanitra Ranaivoarison, and Marius Randriamanambintsoa

De gauche à droite: José Miguel Guzmán, Louise Ranaivo, Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy, Irène Hanitra Ranaivoarison, and Marius Randriamanambintsoa

In January 2017, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Madagascar. This post is one in a series of interviews with visitors to DHS headquarters.

Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!

Nom, titre et organisation : Louise Ranaivo (Assistante Technique, MOH, NMCP) Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy (Coordonnateur MIS-INSTAT), Irène Hanitra Ranaivoarison (Programme National de Lutte Contre le Paludisme), Marius Randriamanambintsoa (Chef de Service,  Enquêtes et Recensements Démographiques, Institut National de la Statistique)

Pays d’origine : Madagascar

Q: Racontez un peu la première fois que vous avez travaillé sur des données de « The DHS Program »:

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa: En 2010, on a utilisé les données de l’EDS pour le memoire sur l’Education de la mère et mortalité des enfants (IFOR)

Q: Qu’est-ce que vous avez trouvé comme surprise agréable lors de votre séjour  à « The DHS Program »?

R: Louise Ranaivo : Accueil, organisation, sécurité, spécialité de chacun.

R: Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy : Plus de femmes travaillent au bureau.

Q: Qu’est-ce que vous manque le plus de chez vous quand vous êtes ici ?

R: Louise Ranaivo : Famille.

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : La chaleur; on dirait que tout le monde est  « cloitré » dans un coin et à envoyer de mails pour dire  « bonjour ».

Q: Quelle est la plus grande différence entre le bureau de « The DHS Program » et votre bureau dans votre pays ?

R: Irène Hanitra Ranaivoarison : La disponibilité de tout le monde en cas de problème.

R: Louise Ranaivo : Responsabilité, disponibilité, efficacité de chaque personne.

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : Le bureau est très vaste et calme.

Q: Quelle est votre  page de couverture préférée ?

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : Couleur verte
     Madagascar Enquête Démographique et de Santé 2003-04 [FR158]

R: Irène Hanitra Ranaivoarison : Paysage
     Madagascar Enquête Démographique et de Santé 2008-09 (French)

Q: Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi ? 

R: Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy : La mortalité des enfants. Mortalité infantile est toujours un des grands problèmes dans les pays en développement.

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : Connaissance et information en matière du paludisme. Je suis expérimenté pour ce chapitre et que ça a une influence sur les moustiquaires à imprégnation durable (MID).

R: Louise Ranaivo: Prévention : « Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir ».

Q: Quel est le thème de population ou de santé qui vous intéresse le plus, et pourquoi ?

R: Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy : Nutrition et vaccination (deux problèmes clés pour la réduction de la mortalité).

R: Louise Ranaivo: Paludisme, car c’est encore un fléau. Beaucoup de facteurs entrent en scène : homme – vecteurs – parasites – environnement.

Q: Comment espérez-vous que les données de l’EIP sur votre pays seront utilisées ?

R: Louise Ranaivo: Prévention : Comparaison avec celle des données antérieures et comparaison avec autres pays.

R: Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy : Les responsables concernés par chaque donnée doivent utiliser ces résultats et en tenir compte pour améliorer leur domaine respectif.

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : C’est intéressant aux décideurs, les données de l’EIP. Ils ont confiance de ces données.

Q: Qu’avez–vous appris en travaillant avec « The DHS Program »?

R: Louise Ranaivo: Prévention : Qualité du travail, discussions.

R: Victor Rabeza Rafaralahy : Beaucoup de choses : productivité, rapidité contact, plus connaissance, et organisation du travail.

R: Marius Randriamanambintsoa : J’ai appris pas mal de choses comme : la méthode de travail pour faire une enquête, analyse descriptive des données, dissémination des résultats, analyse approfondie des données en utilisant les logiciels : SPSS, SPAD et STATA.

Madagascar MIS 2016 Cover Final.indd

The 2016 Madagascar MIS was released on February 28th.

Download the final report here.





21 Feb

Spotlight on New Staff: Annē Linn

Name: Annē Linn

Position title: Communications Associate

Languages spoken: French, Spanish, Malinke, and I’ve been working on my Portuguese since starting at The DHS Program.

When not working, favorite place to visit:  Montana…there’s no place like home.

Favorite type of cuisine: Ooh, tough one…I like everything. I’m a wannabe vegetarian, so I’ll have to say fun, creative vegetarian cuisine.

Last good book you read: This was the hardest question on here, since I’ve read a lot of great books in the past few months. I recently read “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman for a book club and really enjoyed it.

Where would we find you on a Saturday?  Exploring DC and the surrounding area. There’s so much to do here!

First time you worked with DHS survey data: In graduate school, we used the 1997 Indonesia DHS in my course on Advanced Analysis for Nutrition Data.

What is on your desk (or bulletin board/wall) right now?  A mask from Tanzania, a metal butterfly from Mexico, and a wedding picture of my husband and me on our tandem bike.

Namibia Demographic and Health Survey 2000 [FR141]What is your favorite survey final report cover?
   I took a field trip to the publications library to provide a more informed answer for this one. The winner was the 2000 Namibia DHS cover, which brought back amazing memories of climbing dunes in the Namib desert when I studied abroad there in 2005.

Favorite chapter or indicator, and why?  Children with fever for whom advice or treatment was sought the same or the next day. I care a lot about timely care seeking for malaria.

What’s your favorite way to access The DHS Program’s data?  I love STATcompiler. Somehow I had never come into contact with it before I started here. When I first started using it and saw how easy it was to quickly access and visualize data, I was so excited, but also bummed that I hadn’t found it earlier!

What population or health issue are you most passionate about?  Why?  As I said before, I am very passionate about access to and utilization of treatment for malaria. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, I worked on a community-based model of proactive case detection for malaria that was designed to increase timely case management.

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?  Working with stakeholders in-country to ensure that survey data is utilized in program and policy planning.

What has been your biggest surprise so far?  I guess it’s not a surprise, but I have been fascinated to be behind the scenes and see how a DHS survey comes together after having utilized the data for so long before starting here. It’s such a huge undertaking with so much hard work by so many people, both on the ground and here in Maryland.

What do you look forward to bringing to The DHS Program (job-related or not!)? I have heard a lot about people being excited that I speak French, which is great, because I’m a huge language nerd and love speaking French.


10 Feb

Where Statistics are Beautiful

Hans Rosling created a world where “statistics are beautiful” and data are entertaining. The staff at The DHS Program have always believed these things to be true but found it difficult to convince the masses. And then came Gapminder and the juggernaut of Hans Rosling’s charismatic, informative, and perspective-changing data presentations.

The DHS Program was heartbroken to learn of Hans Rosling’s death earlier this week. DHS has enjoyed a long and enthusiastic relationship with Dr. Rosling. In 2009, The DHS Program and USAID had the honor of welcoming Dr. Rosling as our keynote speaker at the DHS 25th anniversary celebration in Washington, DC. What is particularly striking in watching the video again after 8 years, is the laughter. Before Hans Rosling, no one would have believed that a data presentation could be so engaging and witty while being so insightful.

In addition to being entertaining and informative, Dr. Rosling was exceptionally modest and gracious. He came to the DHS 25th anniversary event at his own cost, and credited USAID and DHS data with his own success. He thanked USAID and the US taxpayers saying, “Nothing in my career would have been possible without DHS data.”

But really we, at The DHS Program, owe Hans Rosling a tremendous debt of gratitude. Dr. Rosling was a great advocate not just for DHS data, but for all data. He understood, better than anyone else, that data are worthless unless they are used. And he succeeded in doing what many of us have attempted and failed:  he made data come alive.  He used the data to expose the many incorrect notions about development that even people working in the field have, and he did it with such unique charm and flair. His presentations inspired people to think in different ways and to take action.

To Hans Rosling’s family, we thank you for sharing Hans with the world, and for so willingly joining his mission to “edutain” us. All of us at The DHS Program mourn the loss of this warm, generous visionary. This week, more than ever, we commit to continue the work that Hans has started, and will be inspired by Hans Rosling’s leadership and ingenuity as we look for new ways to provide the world with actionable, understandable data.

08 Feb

Update: Downloadable Citations for DHS Final Survey Reports Now Available

Is this how you look when you’re compiling your references?
A recent DHS comparative report included references to 52 Demographic and Health Surveys.  You could spend hours entering bibliographic information, or you can download the citations directly into your reference software.

In 2015, The DHS Program announced the availability of downloadable citations for all DHS analytical reports.

And now, in 2017, we are pleased to announce that the reference information for ALL (more than 300 of them!) DHS, SPA, MIS, and AIS final survey reports are also available for download. As with the previous release, citation information can be downloaded in two ways:

-Individually on each publication page or

-As part of a full library of DHS Final survey reports:

Endnote capture

We’ve also provided some additional information on our recommended citation style, and how to achieve it in the various reference management software. Read more about downloadable citations and citation styles on our website.

25 Jan

A New DHS Questionnaire: Interviewing Fieldworkers

There’s a new survey in town. But it’s probably not what you expect. For 30 years, The DHS Program has trained thousands of fieldworkers to conduct over 300 surveys – but who are these fieldworkers? It is well documented that interviewers affect the quality of the data being collected, for example, in the areas of response rates and response validity. So what interviewer characteristics lead to the best data quality? Have fieldworkers worked on a DHS survey before? Are the fieldworkers similar to the respondents they are interviewing? Until now, answers to these and other questions have not been quantified.


© Blake Zachary, ICF

In 2014, The DHS Program piloted a fieldworker survey in Cambodia. Data were collected from all 114 fieldworkers. We collected information on their age, sex, marital status, religion, educational level, experience with other surveys, and languages spoken. Taken on their own, the survey results may not be all that interesting. About three–quarters of the fieldworkers had been educated beyond secondary school, almost half had been involved in a previous DHS survey, and about one-third had no children. But when these survey results are compared with DHS response rates and results, they may help to explain certain patterns.

Take, for example, the question of child mortality. Our new DHS fieldworker questionnaire asks if an interviewer has had a child who died. Is this interviewer more likely to collect accurate data on infant and child mortality? Or might she try to avoid the topic?

While all interviewers undergo intense training on the DHS questionnaires, the rapport between interviewer and interviewee is integral to data quality. Will survey respondents be more likely to refuse participation in the survey if the interviewer appears to be better educated or too young? Are unmarried interviewers sufficiently comfortable asking questions about sexual practices, family planning, and child birth? Are experienced interviewers better interviewers or are they too jaded to do a good job?

The pilot study in Cambodia proved that collecting information from interviewers was both feasible and potentially informative. Starting with the 2015 Zimbabwe DHS, the fieldworker questionnaire has been a standard part of the survey, and the dataset is released along with the traditional DHS survey dataset.Zimbabwe dataset

The potential research questions are endless. And now, with the first public release of the fieldworker survey dataset as part of the 2015 Zimbabwe DHS, analysts will be able to explore these data themselves.

11 Jan

Measuring the SDGs: The Role of Household Surveys

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have replaced the Millennium Development Goals with broad and lofty aspirations ranging from health, education, and gender equality to clean energy and responsible consumption.

Sustainable Development GoalsBehind each Sustainable Development Goal is a series of targets and each target can be measured by one or more indicators. Many of the targets in the areas of good health, zero hunger, no poverty, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and reduced inequalities can be measured directly from DHS surveys. In fact, in many cases, this information has been collected as part of the DHS for decades, and indicator data already exist.

For example, the second SDG, “Zero Hunger,” is supported by 8 targets. One of these is: “By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons” (Target 2.2).

Target 2.2 of SDGs

This is where DHS comes in. DHS surveys have measured the height and weight of children under 5 since the 1980s. These measurements are compared to international reference standards to calculate stunting and wasting.Trends in Stunting in South Asia

As DHS data in the STATcompiler show, 4 countries in South Asia have made progress in reducing stunting since the 1990s, but stunting in this region is still unacceptably high. Future surveys will assess whether or not they can achieve a 40% reduction (the international target) by 2025.

Similarly, the SDG for Good Health and Well Being includes a target on reducing childhood mortality: “By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births” (Target 3.2).

Childhood mortality data have been collected as a standard part of DHS surveys since 1985. While neonatal and under-five mortality have declined in many DHS countries, the target of 25 under-five deaths for every 1,000 live births is still a long way off for many. In Tanzania, for example, under-five mortality has dropped steadily since 1999 but is not yet near the international target.

Under-five mortality in East Africa

Other SDG-supporting indicators currently collected in DHS surveys include access to safe water and improved toilet facilities, early marriage, family planning demand satisfied, antenatal care coverage, and birth registration. Others are not part of the DHS standard questionnaire but are often collected in optional modules, such as the maternal mortality ratio, female genital cutting, and violence against women.

In addition, new questions were added to the DHS questionnaire at the beginning of DHS-7 (2013-2018). The data resulting from these questions are starting to appear in DHS final reports and respond to SDG indicators such as clean cooking fuel, tobacco use, internet access, bank accounts, and mobile telephone ownership. A new DHS module on accidents and injuries will respond to the SDG indicator on road traffic accidents. A full list of the DHS-related SDG indicators can be found on the SDGs page of the DHS website.

Demand for Family Planning videoBut as always, collecting data is not enough. The DHS Program is also working to make the DHS-related SDGs easier to find, interpret, and use. This past year we released a video tutorial on the complicated “Demand for Family Planning Satisfied” indicator, and worked with partner Blue RasterDemand for Family Planning video to create an SDGs Story Map.

In the coming year, you will see a standard SDGs table for the final reports, addition of an SDGs tag to facilitate location of SDGs in the STATcompiler, and expansion of the SDGs page on our website.

Stay tuned as we develop these tools. And in the meantime, we’ll be out in the field, collecting the data the world needs to monitor progress towards sustainable development.

21 Dec

Video: Best of DHS 2016

Take a look back at the highlights of The DHS Program from 2016…

The DHS Program welcomed several new staff members:


The 2014 Lesotho DHS final report was released using a new final report format:


Faster data, including the model datasets and bulk downloading of datasets using a download manager:


French STATcompiler and Mobile App:


Surveys, surveys, surveys:


9 Regional Capacity Strengthening Workshops:


And The DHS Program produced more than 80 publications:


We hope you continue to follow us throughout 2017!

Watch the full video below:


07 Dec

Spotlight on New Staff: Julia Fleuret

Name: Julia Fleuret

Position title:  Survey Manager

Languages spoken: English and French

Favorite type of cuisine: Anything not involving hardboiled eggs.

Last good book you read: Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?: A Story of Women and Economics, by Katrine Marcal – very funny analysis/critique of traditional economic thinking.

When not working, favorite place to visit:  The northern California coast for gorgeous hiking/scenery.

Where would we find you on a Saturday?  Yoga, farmers’ market, library/bookstore – then back home for a baking project.

First time you worked with DHS survey data: During my first semester getting my MPH at Tulane I used Mali DHS data in a nutrition class.

What is on your desk (or bulletin board/wall) right now?  My desk is a mess, so let’s focus on the bulletin board: a postcard from Kansas City, a ticket from a highlife concert in Accra, art flyers from Kampala, and a snapshot (from the days of film cameras!) of a tailor’s door in Bamako.

2011 Uganda DHSWhat is your favorite survey final report cover?   I am partial to the 2011 Uganda DHS and its cheerful jumble of sunflowers, although that might be because I’ve been carrying it around for the last 6 months while supporting the 2016 Uganda DHS (which is currently in the field.)

Favorite chapter or indicator, and why?  I feel like nutrition is the foundation of health, so the children’s anthropometry results in Chapter 11 (Nutrition of Children and Adults) is one of the first things I look at in a report.

What’s your favorite way to access The DHS Program’s data?  I am in some ways a dinosaur, and I like hard copies of reports.

What population or health issue are you most passionate about?  Why? Since starting at the DHS I’ve become more interested in collecting data to understand more about disability in a population – both for the overall prevalence of disability but perhaps more interestingly, to look at health outcome disparities by disability status. We developed an optional module on disability for use in the Household Questionnaire (based on the Washington Group on Disability Statistics’ Short Set of Disability Questions) and it will be interesting to see if more countries adopt it and how they use those data.

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?  Well, I’ve been here for just under 18 months, so I’m not sure I’m new anymore – but I am really looking forward to seeing the data as they come out for Uganda, and working with the implementing agency to put out the Key Indicators Report and Final Report early next year.

What has been your biggest surprise so far?  The iodine test kits really work! I mean, I didn’t expect them to not work – but I felt like a magician actually turning the salt sample purple!

What do you look forward to bringing to The DHS Program (job-related or not!)? A sense of humor & the results of the aforementioned baking projects.



16 Nov

From National to Local: A New Way to Leverage DHS Data

In DHS survey final reports, data are presented on a national or first-level administrative sub-national level. However, this is usually not the level at which program planning and decision making are truly happening. To support more decentralized decision making at lower administrative levels, data need to be presented on a more disaggregated level.

The DHS Program is producing a standard set of spatially modeled map surfaces for each population-based survey for a select list of indicators that provide smaller area estimates of data. Geostatistics are used to predict (interpolate) the indicator value for unsampled areas based on data from sampled data locations. DHS creates standardized modeled map surfaces using DHS survey data along with global covariate datasets. Currently, sets of standard surfaces are available for 16 surveys. Spatial data packages and stand-alone maps are available for download through The DHS Program’s Spatial Data Repository.

How can modeled map surfaces be used?

These new spatially modeled surfaces can help in several ways to improve decision making for many development sectors that include health, population, nutrition, and water and sanitation programs on multiple levels. Users can combine the maps with other resources to support:

  1. Monitoring and evaluation: analysis and evaluation of past initiatives (impact analysis) or understanding existing situations
  2. Program planning: future planning of appropriate programs and policies

Data in the modeled surfaces can be used to evaluate past programs or to better understand existing situations. Such evaluations can help to understand deviations from the norm, attribute cause, or to contribute to impact evaluations, which analyze what would have happened to the population of an area if a program had not been implemented.

Program managers can also use modeled surfaces to plan, target, and develop interventions and programs that aim to improve situations in targeted geographic areas. Interventions can be targeted more precisely, saving money, time, and human resources in the search for the most effective outcomes.

The matrix below shows potential approaches for monitoring and evaluating past and planning future programs using modeled surfaces.

This matrix is by no means comprehensive, and it is expected that map users will come up with many more potential uses after analyzing their particular situation and maps for their country.

To read more, please see the Spatial Analysis Report 14, “Guidance for Use of The DHS Program Modeled Map Surfaces.” The report delivers more in-depth information on what modeled surfaces The DHS Program is creating, as well as an explanation of their creation process. In addition, the report provides guidance on limitations and assumptions.

The DHS Program is looking forward to seeing how groups will use this new data product to enhance their activities. There is enormous potential for innovative uses of these modeled surfaces beyond those discussed in the report. Users are encouraged to submit ideas and case studies to The DHS Program (spatialdata@dhsprogram.com) as only a large community of users who share their experiences will fully expose the maps’ potential.

Aileen Marshall is the Knowledge Management/Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at The DHS Program. She is responsible for planning, development, implementation and evaluation of the KM strategy, KM activities as well as the project-wide SharePoint site. Additionally, she is involved in measuring and evaluating capacity strengthening activities at DHS and works closely with all teams to ensure knowledge at DHS is captured, stored and shared efficiently among staff. Aileen holds an MA in English Linguistics from the Westfaelische Wilhelms-University in Muenster, Germany, and an MLIS from the University of South Carolina.

Trinadh Dontamsetti is the Health Geographic Analyst for The DHS Program. He contributes to geospatial analysis, mapmaking, and geographic data processing activities. His research interests include geospatial interpolation, tuberculosis, and vector arthropod-borne diseases.


Clara R. Burgert is the GIS Coordinator for The DHS Program. She oversees all  geographic data, mapping, and geospatial analysis activities at The DHS Program.  Additionally, she facilitates workshops in partner countries on using maps for better decision making using open source GIS software.






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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