What Every IPUMS DHS User Should Know
1. Users must apply for permission to download IPUMS DHS data, specifying the country/countries of interest, from The DHS Program. Go to "Register to Use IPUMS DHS" to apply for access. Any permissions you may already have for DHS will carry over to IPUMS-DHS, using your DHS username and password.
2. Weights should always be used to create statistics from DHS/IPUMS DHS data. For most analyses using women, births, or young children as the unit of analysis, use the sample weight PERWEIGHT. When including variables from the Domestic Violence Module, use DVWEIGHT . Use PERWEIGHTMN as the weight when men are the unit of analysis, and use HHWEIGHT when household members are the unit of analysis
3. There are important differences between IPUMS DHS data and the original DHS data:
- IPUMS DHS data are currently available for women of childbearing age, for the births and the young children of those women, for non-elderly adult men, and for members of randomly selected households (which may or may not contain women of childbearing age). The original DHS files include other units of analysis (such as couples), which will be added in the coming years.
- Codes for IPUMS DHS variables sometimes differ from the codes for the original DHS variables (for example, to handle different degrees of detail across samples). It is not possible to download an extract that has the original DHS values.
- Some variables included in the original DHS files are not yet in IPUMS DHS. More variables, as well as more samples, will be added to IPUMS DHS over time. IPUMS DHS data extracts can be linked to the original DHS files to add variables. See the User Note on Linking for further information.
4. While IPUMS DHS data include some household-characteristic variables, IPUMS DHS data should not be used to create statistics about households, unless the dataset on household members is limited to persons who are coded as heads of households or assigned household line number 1 in the household roster. Without those restrictions, household variables should be treated as characteristics of the person (e.g., a woman of childbearing age lives in a household with electricity).
5. Examine the documentation for variables you are using. Clicking on a variable name in the "Select Data" part of the website provides access to the variable's codes and frequencies, universe (who answered the question), meaning, discussion of comparability issues, and question wording.