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

Robert McCaa, Lara Cleveland, Patricia Kelly-Hall, Steven Ruggles, Matthew Sobek


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.


IPUMS-International; Census microdata; Metadata; Statistical coherence; Population census; Primary schooling; Educational attainment; Data quality

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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