Household data are probably the most widely used in analyzing, monitoring and evaluating the impact of poverty reduction interventions. In some instances, however, data at other levels of disaggregation maybe more appropriate. For example, policies and nationwide programs may require data at the national or regional level, while interventions on particular members of the household (for example, women and children) require data collection at the individual level.
A number of data initiatives have been launched in recent years to improve the availability and quality of household data collected for policy design and analysis including poverty monitoring and program evaluation.
Where can I find household survey data to study poverty and inequality?
- The International Household Survey Network (IHSN) has established a web-based Central Survey and Census Catalog, which provides users with access to selected survey and census metadata, documentation and datasets. Access to underlying electronic files is enforced and controlled according to each official depositor’s policy.
- The World Bank has developed the Development Data Platform (DDP), which provides information on existing household survey datasets and their characteristics. For World Bank internal use only, the Development Data Platform (DDP) provides access and basic analytical tools for both time series (macro) and survey (micro) data on a wide range of development topics; and includes metadata, documentation and related datasets. With DDP’s powerful features, users can prepare and publish web reports, charts and maps.
- The Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) web site lists all LSMS surveys conducted so far and gives information on how to obtain the data. LSMS surveys collect household data that can be used to assess household welfare, understand household behavior, and evaluate the effects of various government policies on living conditions. Data on many dimensions of household well-being are generally collected (consumption, income, savings, employment, health, education, fertility, nutrition, housing and migration).
- The Africa Household Survey Databank, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Household Survey Databank, and the Latin America and Caribbean Household Survey Databank provide access to information and files for household surveys conducted in those regions. The Poverty Monitoring Survey Databaseprovides access to household surveys conducted around the globe. The information available in these repositories is composed of descriptive survey, dataset and documentation metadata and their related electronic files.
- The Program for the Improvement of Surveys and the Measurement of Living Conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean (ISLC/MECOVI) aims at improving data quality and availability in terms of their scope, coverage, reliability, and, most importantly, their relevance for policy making. The program was implemented in 1997 by the Inter-American Development Bank together with the World Bank, ECLAC and country governments including those of Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru.
- Demographic and Health Surveys (DHSs) are often used to look at health and education indicators. You can find information on how to access the datasets on the DHS web site.
- Household Expenditure and Income Data for Transitional Economies (HEIDE) (5.4Mb .zip file) is a database of household expenditure and income data from recent surveys. It was created by a World Bank research team as part of a project analyzing poverty and social assistance in transition economies.
- Check out also the Inequality around the World website, maintained by Branko Milanovic.
- Other World Bank datasets available free of charge can be found on the Poverty World Bank Research Datasets page.
See Data on Poverty and Inequality
for current poverty trends and key poverty indicators that monitor various dimensions of poverty, including consumption/income, health and education indicators.
See Types of Data
to review the various types of household surveys.
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