Absence of certain variables from Women and Men recodes of IPUMS DHS India Samples


I am working with NFHS data for a couple of projects, and recently started using IPUMS DHS as part of our build.

I am are interested in measuring differences in access to healthcare by gender in Indian states, and have a list of variables from raw NFHS data from DHS that we are interested in -

DHS NFHS-4 Women: S363 (visited health facility or camp for self or children in the last 3 months) and S364 (type of facility visited)

DHS NFHS-4 Men: S319 (visited health facility or camp for self or children in the last 3 months)

and S320 (type of facility visited).

However, we couldn’t find these variables in the IPUMS DHS data for India in the Men and Women recodes. While we are currently using DHS raw data, we noticed that the estimates we are generating using these variables are not matching the estimates provided in the NFHS official reports for NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 (table 11.20), specifically for health facility visits for women in the last 3 months.

We were wondering what the reason is for these variables to not be included in IPUMS DHS samples for India. Is it because IPUMS noticed some problem with these variables, or that they have changed over time, or something else? It would be helpful for us to know the information you have on these variables as we try to nail down the cause of mismatch between DHS raw data and official reports.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you!

Aryan Srivastava

We communicated about this via email, but I have a small update and wanted to share the information more broadly on the forum. The variables you have referenced are country-specific variables which aren’t asked in every survey (these often have variable names beginning with S). While some are available via IPUMS DHS (e.g., S363 in the women’s questionnaire could be calculated using responses from the services obtained in the community health workers variable group (e.g. HCSEEKANTE)), these variables, on the whole, are unavailable through IPUMS DHS. While we offer a handful of these variables, we do not have any concrete plans to integrate additional country-specific variables at this time and many samples will be released without them.

I know this is likely not the news that you were hoping for. However, I hope this information plus my earlier note that IPUMS DHS data extracts can be linked to the original DHS files to add variables will help you determine how to best proceed with your research.