Harmonized geography for DHS and MICS

Hello! My team and I use (and greatly appreciate!) the spatially harmonized geography variables available for DHS and MICS, which facilitate longitudinal analyses within each of those survey families. We are also interested in comparisons across survey families, so are curious about (a) whether IPUMS has any guidance on spatial harmonization across DHS and MICS, and (b) whether there are any plans to develop integrated geography variables that apply to surveys in both families.

Thank you for any insights!

IPUMS does not currently provide any guidance or resources on spatial harmonization across IPUMS-DHS and IPUMS-MICS, however I can provide a few resources to get started.

Shapefiles that provide GIS formatted boundaries of identified areas in IPUMS-DHS are available for download as are shapefiles with boundaries of areas identified in IPUMS-MICS. By overlaying the DHS and MICS shapefiles for each country, you can determine which areas are identified across both families of surveys. You may match either consistent boundaries for each country that have been harmonized over time (e.g., GEO_BD1994_2014 in DHS and GEO1_BD in MICS for Bangladesh) or sample specific boundaries if you want to identify administrative areas whose boundaries changed over time (e.g., GEO_BD2007 in DHS and GEO1_BD2006 in MICS allow users to separately identify residents of Sylhet Division from Chittagong in years after their 1995 split).

Sometimes, MICS or DHS will have additional levels of geographic detail that are unavailable in the other survey family. In the case of Bangladesh, IPUMS-MICS provides the district of residence (GEO2_BD) in addition to the division, whereas IPUMS-DHS only provides the division. Typically, however, DHS surveys will have more geographic detail than MICS surveys. This is because DHS users can also access geographic shapefiles that report the georeferenced coordinates of household clusters for available samples. These must be accessed directly through the DHS Program website, but can then be merged onto IPUMS extracts.

While there are no current integrated geography resources between IPUMS-MICS and IPUMS-DHS, providing cross-project geography resources is something we are exploring. IPUMS-International has provided a crosswalk between IPUMS-I and IPUMS-DHS geographies. I will share your interest with my colleagues to see whether this crosswalk may be expanded in the future to include IPUMS-MICS.

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