IPUMS-DHS -- calculating contraceptive discontinuation rate


I’ve been using IPUMS-DHS data on family planning extensively, but have recently run into a problem. I’m trying to calculate 12-month contraceptive discontinuation rates, as outlined in this DHS guide:


That guide notes a number of variables around the contraceptive calendar which are needed to calculate discontinuation rates. However, I can’t find any of these variables in the IPUMS data, either under their original names (e.g. vcal_1) or in searches of the menus related to family planning.

Would very much appreciate some assistance on whether these variables are in the data so that I can calculate this metric! I’ve found the IPUMS-DHS data extremely useful and would hate to have to switch back to the raw DHS data, especially since this is a multi-country analysis.


Unfortunately, these contraceptive calendar variables are not yet available in IPUMS DHS. The good news is that the IPUMS DHS team is working to incorporate them as part of a new unit of analysis: women person months of exposure. The anticipated release date of these variables is not until winter/spring of 2021, but we anticipate that the data will be much easier to work with in this new format. If you require the data before then, you may be interested in this resource on linking across multiple DHS files; you could leverage the linking keys listed here to link IPUMS DHS and raw DHS data files together to incorporate these two variables.