21 Jul 2021

Mapping Unrealized Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many women in DHS Program countries have fewer children than they desire. Our newest StoryMap explores unrealized fertility in sub-Saharan Africa, based on the recently published analysis Comparing Ideal and Completed Family Size: A Focus on Women in Low- and Middle-income Countries with Unrealized Fertility. Unrealized fertility is most common among women in Western and Central Africa where about 60% of women age 40-49 report that they had fewer children than they would have liked.

The StoryMap and paper also explore sex preference, ideal family size, and subnational variation in unrealized fertility.


Featured image © Roger Tete for PMI/USAID

08 Jul 2021

World Population Day 2021

July 11th is World Population Day. The Household Questionnaire collects information on all members of and visitors to households selected to participate in Demographic and Health Surveys. Basic information including age, sex, marital status, education, and relationship to the head of the household is collected for everyone who stayed in the selected households the night before the interview. Some of this information is visualized in a population pyramid, a great visualization of a country’s distribution of age groups by sex. The population pyramid is typically found in chapter 2 of Demographic and Health Survey Final Reports. Demographers can identify population trends based on a population pyramid’s shape and make predictions about that country’s population in the future.

Test your knowledge of demography, fertility, and population pyramids by taking The DHS Program’s #PopPyramid Quiz featuring population pyramids from recently published Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Hint: Use STATcompiler.com to find the answers.

The DHS Program’s #PopPyramid Quiz

22 Jun 2021

The DHS Program’s Digital Resources

The DHS Program has several digital resources available for free to help data users understand, analyze, visualize, and use DHS survey indicators to support evidence-based decision making.

Click on each icon below to access the digital resource.

DHS Program website
STATcompiler
Mobile App
Application Programming Interface
Spatial Data Repository

DHS Program YouTube channel
User Forum

Code Share Library on GitHub
DHS Program Learning Hub

Have you used any of The DHS Program’s digital resources? Share your feedback with The DHS Program by taking the user survey.

Get an overview of these digital resources and more in the new video The DHS Program’s Digital Resources.

Avez-vous utilisé l’une des ressources numériques du DHS Program ? Partagez vos commentaires avec le DHS Program en répondant à l’enquête d’utilisateurs.

Obtenez un aperçu des ressources numériques disponibles dans la nouvelle vidéo Les ressources numériques du DHS Program, en français.

26 May 2021

IPUMS Announces Winners of the 2020 Global Health Research Awards

Every year, hundreds of papers are published using DHS Program data. Datasets for individual DHS surveys are available for download from The DHS Program website by completing a simple registration form. Researchers and students can also access the IPUMS DHS data collection to facilitate comparative analysis of DHS Program data. Harmonized across time and space, IPUMS DHS features consistently named and coded variables for 32 African countries and 9 Asian countries, with more datasets constantly being added.

The IPUMS DHS team recently announced the winners of this year’s IPUMS Global Health paper awards, which highlight some of the most exciting research to take advantage of the IPUMS DHS integrated datasets. These papers were selected from a highly competitive field that included nearly 50 studies released in 2020.

The Best IPUMS Global Health Publication Award goes to Zinguang Fan (Department of Sociology, Peking University, Beijing, China) and Maria Vignan Loria (Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA) for their Demographic Research article, “Intimate Partner Violence and Contraceptive Use in Developing Countries: How Does the Relationship Depend on Context?

Fan and Loria resolve a puzzle in prior research on intimate partner violence (IPV): Why is the relationship between IPV and contraceptive use negative in some countries and positive in others? Using 30 IPUMS DHS samples from 17 countries, the authors demonstrate that the relationship between IPV and family planning is modified by macro contextual factors, including legal prohibitions and national levels of female empowerment. This study stands out not just for answering an important social science question but also in its creative use of the broad range of information collected in DHS Program surveys, including variables on contraceptive use and type, family size preferences, husband-wife disagreement on fertility goals, various indicators of women’s status (e.g., education, employment, decision-making), and domestic violence. In addition, the authors draw on IPUMS DHS variables to determine the direction of causality: from the experience of IPV to increased contraceptive use, rather than from contraceptive use to increased incidence of IPV.

The Best Student Paper Award goes to Siyu Heng (Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) and his collaborators Wendy P. O’Meara, Ryan A. Simmons, and Dylan A. Small for their paper, “Relationship between Changing Malaria Burden and Low Birth Weight in sub-Saharan Africa.

This study leverages geographic heterogeneity to determine the effect of reduced malaria burden on low-birth-weight rates across communities in 19 sub-Saharan African countries. Low birth weight is a serious health risk associated with cognitive and physical difficulties among children. This careful and cleverly designed study analyzes IPUMS DHS data from countries with at least two surveys and GPS data on survey cluster locations.  After using optimal matching to pair DHS Program survey clusters separated in time, the authors use a difference-in-difference approach to compare the incidence of low birth weight in areas that did and did not experience malaria decline. Results reveal a substantial decline in low birth weight resulting from declines in malaria prevalence, especially for first-born children.

Congratulations to these scholars on this impressive accomplishment!

IPUMS DHS is a system that makes it easy to find and review thousands of DHS survey variables and to download a single fully harmonized data file with only the variables and samples that interest you. IPUMS DHS currently includes variables from DHS survey samples from 32 African and 9 Asian countries; more samples are constantly being added.


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 of Child Health and Human 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 Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation 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.

04 May 2021

The DHS Program at the 2021 PAA Annual Meeting

May 5th marks the first day of the 2021 Population Association of America (PAA) Annual Meeting. The premier conference of demographers and social and health scientists from the United States and abroad, this year’s PAA Annual Meeting is virtual. You must register to access sessions of the 2021 PAA Annual Meeting.

Over the next four days, demographers and public health professionals will present research, view and comment on posters, and network with peers. For those attending the PAA Annual Meeting, DHS Program staff will be presenting their findings using DHS data. Find the schedule below:

Wednesday, May 5, 2021Time*Type & Number
Trends and the Relationship between Maternal Health and Empowerment in Pakistan, 2012-2018
Lindsay Mallick, Rabia Zafar, Christina Juan, Johanna Useem
1:00pm-2:15pmSession 45
Thursday, May 6, 2021Time*Type & Number
Stunting and Anemia for Children in Urban Poor Environments
Shireen Assaf, Christina Juan
9:30-11:00amPoster 3-103
Trajectories Into Contraceptive Use Among Adolescents in Burundi, Colombia, and Nepal
Kerry L.D. MacQuarrie
10:45am-12:00pmSession 114
Gender- and Sexuality-Based Violence
Discussant: Dr. Sunita Kishor, Director, The DHS Program
1:00-2:15pmSession 134
Friday, May 7, 2021Time*Type & Number
Intention to Use Contraceptives in Jordan: Further Analysis of the Jordan Population and Family Health Survey 2017-18
Sara Riese
9:30-11:00amPoster 6-66
Disability Status and the Experience of Unintended Pregnancy in 5 Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Kerry L.D. MacQuarri
e, Julia Fleuret
1:30-3:00pmPoster 7-48
Contraceptive Use, Method Mix, and Method Availability: A Multilevel Analysis
Lindsay Mallick, Shireen Assaf, Michelle Weinberger, Gbaike Ajayi
2:30-3:45pmSession 238
*All times listed are in Central Daylight Time

Use web and mobile tools from The DHS Program to explore DHS survey data for yourself:


Featured image © rexandpan, stock.adobe.com

21 Apr 2021

Learn How to Use The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub

The DHS Program recently released three YouTube tutorial videos to help DHS data users access The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub. The Code Share Library was started in 2018 to provide code for producing DHS indicators listed in the Guide to DHS Statistics using statistical software like Stata or SPSS. This year, The DHS Program has begun preparing R code as well. You do not need to create a GitHub account to copy or download any code to produce DHS indicators; it is publicly available for use.

The first video, Overview of The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub, explains the main components of the Code Share Library, including Stata and SPSS repositories, the indicator list, ReadMe file, and chapter folder contents. In each repository on GitHub, there is an important ReadMe file with instructions for users to read before using the code provided.

The second tutorial video, Preparing to Run The DHS Program’s Shared Code in Stata, demonstrates how to prepare to run code to produce DHS indicators in the statistical software Stata using the model datasets. The model datasets were created strictly for practice and do not represent any country’s actual data. Unlike datasets for specific surveys, users do NOT need to register to download model datasets.

One way to start using the Code Share Library is to download the entire repository on your computer. If any update is made to the code in the future, you will need to download the updated code from the Code Share Library. Another way to run the code is to copy and paste the code for your indicator of interest from GitHub to your own personal do file, without having to download the entire repository.

The third video, Running The DHS Program’s Shared Code on Stata, demonstrates how to run the code in Stata to construct indicator variables and produce tables for the indicators. The tables provide a simple tabulation that follows the standard DHS tabulation plan used for survey final reports.

If you do not understand why an indicator was coded in a specific way, check the Guide to DHS Statistics. If you have further questions, email us at codeshare@dhsprogram.com or post your question on The DHS Program User Forum. Follow The DHS Program on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the latest news about code updates (including forthcoming R code), survey dataset releases, and more. Happy coding!

31 Mar 2021

Reflections from the 2020 DHS Fellows Program

The DHS Fellows Program builds the long-term institutional capacity of universities in DHS countries to train students and faculty to analyze DHS data. Since 2011, the DHS Fellows Program has trained more than 150 researchers from over 40 universities in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Typically, Fellows attend two separate in-person workshops, prepare publication-quality research papers in teams using DHS datasets, and implement capacity strengthening activities at their home universities.

For the 2020 DHS Fellows Program, a cohort of university faculty from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Jordan, and Pakistan convened for the first workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2020. The second workshop, scheduled to begin in April 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DHS Program worked quickly to convert the second workshop into online activities. A remote teaching space was created on The DHS Program Learning Hub with presentations and assignments for the Fellows to complete. Virtual meetings were held with each Fellows team to discuss drafts of their working papers.

The 2020 DHS Fellows produced working papers that addressed a variety of research topics including:

As of this blog’s publication, the teams from Jordan and Cameroon have published their working papers in peer-reviewed journals. Visit The DHS Program Fellows page to see all DHS Fellows’ working papers and publications in peer-reviewed journals.

We interviewed teams of 2020 Fellows from the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh and the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry in Guinea about the virtual DHS capacity strengthening activities conducted for faculty and students.

Bangladesh

For their working paper, Nazmul Alam, Mohammad Manir Hossain Mollah, and Sharin Shajahan Naomi wrote about the prevalence and determinants of adolescent fertility. They conducted two virtual capacity strengthening sessions via Zoom, one for 21 faculty members, researchers, and development practitioners, and another session for 25 students. In the sessions, the Fellows introduced participants to The DHS Program, reviewed basic characteristics of DHS data, and highlighted how one can effectively generate new ideas from available DHS data without needing to conduct field research, which has become difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although we were a bit hesitant about the outcome of online sessions, they appeared to be beneficial…faculty members from social sciences, public health, and natural sciences joined…after the workshop, we got very positive feedback.”

Mohammad Manir Hossain Mollah, Sharin Shajahan Naomi, and Nazmul Alam, 2020 DHS Fellows from the Asian University for Women. “We believed that we could deliver the outcome despite the challenges of the pandemic due to our teamwork and mutual understanding.”

Guinea

Bienvenu Salim Camara, Sidikiba Sidibé, and Nafissatou Dioubate wrote about non-use of contraceptives among married women. Days before their planned capacity strengthening presentations, Guinea declared a health emergency due to COVID-19. Universities were closed and gatherings of more than 20 people were prohibited, so the Fellows recorded video presentations introducing The DHS Program survey questionnaires and datasets and uploaded them to Google drive. Students watched the videos at their own pace and emailed the Fellows with questions. Now some students are using DHS data in their research. “One of my students is currently working on his Master’s thesis in maternal health using DHS data, and I am supporting him in the data analysis,” explains Camara. Dioubate notes, “I am proud that I was able to pass on the knowledge gained from the DHS Fellows Program to others and show the opportunities that DHS data can offer.”

Sidikiba Sidibé, Nafissatou Dioubate, and Bienvenu Salim Camara, 2020 DHS Fellows from the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry. “My favorite part was the capacity building in DHS database analysis. This allowed me to undertake other analyses on nutrition indicators using Guinea datasets (food practices for infants and young children) as well as capacity building activities for my students,” notes Sidibé.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the DHS Fellows Program was suspended for 2021. In the meantime, take open courses available on The DHS Program Learning Hub and watch for upcoming Workshop and Training Announcements.

08 Mar 2021

International Women’s Day 2021

The DHS Program collects data for Sustainable Development Goal #5 related to gender equality. For International Women’s Day 2021, UN Women’s theme is “Women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The DHS Program has a long history of collecting data on women’s decision making power, equal earnings, domestic violence, access to health care services, and more.

Explore indicators related to women’s empowerment, reproductive health, and more using STATcompiler. Download Stata and SPSS code for these and other topics from The DHS Program’s code library on GitHub, and check out the wealth of gender-related resources and publications available at dhsprogram.com.

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goal #5, gender equality indicators from recent DHS surveys in the infographic below.


Featured image © Jonathan Torgovnik, Getty Images, Images of Empowerment

24 Feb 2021

Spatial Anonymization in Household Surveys

Location is an important factor in population and health outcomes. Knowing the geospatial location of household survey clusters allows researchers to analyze the impact of location on peoples’ health, nutrition, and access to health care services. Geospatial data provide a clearer picture of where progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals is and is not being made at subnational levels.

The United Nations’ Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys (ISWGHS) was convened to identify priority areas for household surveys to meet new data demands and increase their impact on policy and research over the next decade of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the ISWGHS, The DHS Program and the World Bank co-led a task force on Spatial Anonymization of Public-Use Household Survey Datasets.

The DHS Program has collected GPS coordinates for household survey clusters since 1996. To ensure respondent confidentiality and prevent positive identification (disclosure) of respondent locations, the GPS position of each urban cluster is displaced by up to two kilometers and up to 5-10 kilometers for rural clusters. This method of geomasking coordinates developed by The DHS Program is straightforward and has been widely accepted by analysts using DHS geospatial data. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns that urban points may be overly displaced, reducing the analytical usefulness of the geospatial data, and that some rural points may not be adequately displaced to ensure respondent confidentiality. In response, the spatial anonymization task force convened to explore more sophisticated methods of anonymizing geospatial data.

The task force developed and tested new population-based displacement tools on multiple DHS survey datasets. These tools use an area’s population to determine the minimum distance a cluster’s GPS position must be displaced. These new methods show promise over current spatial anonymization methods to better protect survey respondents while minimizing any adverse impact on analysis and continue to be explored using DHS datasets.

The task force also outlines immediate steps that can be taken to protect respondents. “Even without switching to a new population-based approach [to anonymize geospatial data], we should take steps to verify that we are within an acceptable level of disclosure risk and that our current anonymization objectives are being achieved,” explains Trinadh Dontamsetti, Lead, Geospatial Research. Standards in data protection and security have evolved—the European Union General Data Protection Regulation requires that personal data, including location data, be safeguarded. The task force recommends assessing the risk of disclosure. By quantifying and measuring spatial disclosure risk, the risk can be managed.

Read the “Spatial Anonymization” report for more from the Spatial Anonymization of Public-Use Household Survey Datasets task force. This report was also discussed by stakeholders to prepare a forthcoming paper on “Positioning Household Surveys for the Next Decade.” Both papers will be presented as part of the 52nd Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission: Better Data Better Lives on March 1-3 and 5, 2021.


01 Feb 2021

New Online Course: Health Data Mapping Online Course

The DHS Program is hosting another Health Data Mapping online course on The DHS Program Learning Hub. The 12-week course focuses on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) in public health, specifically using maps for better program and policy decision making. Participants will be introduced to GIS concepts, manage and clean data in Microsoft Excel, and get a hands-on introduction to QGIS, an open-source GIS software package.

This course is for people who:

  • Have little to no GIS experience, but have an interest in learning QGIS and strong data skills.
  • Live and work in a West African country (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo).
  • Have at least an undergraduate degree in public health, demography, statistics, monitoring & evaluation, or a related subject, and basic training in statistics.
  • Currently work for government ministries, development partners, NGOs, or universities in the field of public health.
  • Can understand and communicate in English—the course will be conducted in English and participants will be expected to give presentations in English.
  • Have experience using Excel and have a computer that can run the latest stable release of QGIS.

The Health Data Mapping online course begins April 12 and ends July 3, 2021. Participants can expect to spend two to four hours a week working independently on self-paced lessons and completing assignments. Course facilitators will give feedback on assignments and answer questions on the course discussion forum and during periodic instructor-led virtual sessions.

The Health Data Mapping online course is ideal for those interested in learning about GIS to improve evidence-based decision making. Explore mapmaking and data analysis resources at The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository, STATcompiler, Spatial Analysis Reports, and video tutorials.

Apply now: the deadline is Monday, February 15, 2021.

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.

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Anthropometry measurement (height and weight) is a core component of DHS surveys that is used to generate indicators on nutritional status. The Biomarker Questionnaire now includes questions on clothing and hairstyle interference on measurements for both women and children for improved interpretation.