Integrating the Demographic and Health Surveys, IPUMS-I, and TerraPopulus to Explore Mortality and Health Outcomes at the District Level in Ghana, Malawi, and Tanzania

  • Rachel Sullivan Robinson American University
  • Ann Meier University of Minnesota
  • Jenny Trinitapoli Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Joseph Svec University of Minnesota
Keywords: DHS, IPUMS, TerraPopulous, Spatial Analysis, Health


In this paper, we first show how the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) can be integrated with other data sources to expand the types of variables available for analysis of population and health outcomes. Second, we demonstrate one particular example of such integration by modelling the social, physical, and built environment determinants of health outcomes at the district level in Ghana, Malawi, and Tanzania.  To do so, we created district-level measures of a number of variables from the DHS, and then merged them with district-level data from the IPUMS, an environmental data set called TerraPopulus, and other sources.  We find that it is feasible to combine the DHS with other data sources, and that many health and environment indicators are heterogeneous within countries, justifying further analysis at low levels of geography and suggesting benefits to using such techniques to design fine-grained programmatic interventions.

Author Biographies

Rachel Sullivan Robinson, American University
School of International Service
Ann Meier, University of Minnesota
Department of Sociology and Minnesota Population Center
Jenny Trinitapoli, Pennsylvania State University, State College
Department of Sociology
Joseph Svec, University of Minnesota
Department of Sociology