Statistical coherence of primary schooling in population census microdata: IPUMS-International integrated samples compared for fifteen African countries

  • Robert McCaa Minnesota Population Center
  • Lara Cleveland Minnesota Population Center
  • Patricia Kelly-Hall Minnesota Population Center
  • Steven Ruggles Minnesota Population Center
  • Matthew Sobek
Keywords: IPUMS-International, Census microdata, Metadata, Statistical coherence, Population census, Primary schooling, Educational attainment, Data quality


The IPUMS-International project, now in its fifteenth year, integrates and disseminates population microdata for twenty-two African countries (82 countries world-wide) and the number continues to increase as more National Statistical Offices cooperate with the initiative. Statistical quality is a serious concern both for the producers of the microdata as well as the researchers who use them. This paper applies the intra-cohort comparison method to pairs of integrated (harmonized) samples for fifteen African countries to assess statistical coherence using as a benchmark the proportion completing primary school by single years of birth. Samples for six countries show near perfect coherence (R2 > .9, and regression coefficients ~1.0 +/- <0.08). For a second group of five countries, coefficients are only slightly larger (R2 > 0.6 <0.9). Large deviations from 1.0 characterize samples for only four countries. On the whole, the results suggest that samples for the fifteen countries have considerable utility for socio-demographic analysis.