income / consumption


Where can I find harmonized data on household income / consumption for each country in each year that a DHS survey was done.

The “household economic” variables do not include income or consumption; the “person” “income” variable is missing for many countries/surveys.


Your best option is to use the wealth quintile (WEALTHQ) or wealth index score (WEALTHS) value that ranks households into groups according to their ownership of various items indicative of relative wealth (relative to other households in the same country at the same time). The description tab for WEALTHQ has links to extensive documentation on how the wealth index is calculated.…

WEALTHQ divides households into quintiles by wealth; WEALTHS provides the material to use some other division, such as terciles or deciles, but most researchers just use WEALTHQ.

Many people in low income countries secure most of what they consume via their own agricultural labor, rather than via wage or salary income. Even many who work for others may be paid in-kind rather than in currency. Therefore, The DHS Program did not collect much information on personal or household income, since such information would be biased by excluding or underrepresenting consumption for much of the population.

WEALTHQ and WEALTHS are available for all units of analysis, under “household characteristics–wealth index.” The variable may be missing for a few samples from the 1980s, since this variable was not calculated for some of the earliest DHS surveys.


Thank you for the repsonse. I am unable to locate the “household characteristics” section of the variables and cannot find either WEALTHQ and WEALTHS


Go to the Select Data page and after choosing your unit of analysis, look at the list of variable groups if you rest your cursor on Topics. You will see Household Characteristics as one of the variable groups. Rest your cursor on that so you see subtopics, which will include Wealth Index as a subtopic for Household Characteristics.

Or try following this link (for women as the unit of analysis):…

Or choose your relevant unit of analysis and enter WEALTHQ or WEALTHS into the Search box, here:…

If you are still having difficulty after this, I suggest you follow up by emailing IPUMS user support at .


Thank you. This helped. It turns out I was looking at the IPUMS-International pages, not the IPUMS-DHS pages.

Is there anywhere that records harmonized data on consumption (I take the point that income may be a poor indicator in developing/agricultural economies).


Thanks for letting us know that the problem is resolved for you now.


One indicator of poverty or under-consumption available in DHS data are the anthropometric variables on stunting and wasting, available for both children under age 5 and women of childbearing age. More nuanced indicators other than the wealth index household quintiles are largely lacking, I think.