Three short questions about Vietnam's IPUMS dataset - household and district identifiers across years


To whom this may concern,

I have three questions on Vietnam IPUMS data.

First, the Census asked district and commune for each household, but only 2009 data contains district identifiers.

(information via How can I get the commune / ward names for the Vietnam 2009 census. I have access to only the raw data with refs )

Is there a way to get the district identifier for 1989 and 1999 datasets?

Second is whether we can use household serial number (variable name “serial”) to track households across years from 1989 to 2009.

Third, for the variable mgrate5, the variable label says “Same major, same minor administrative unit”.

Does “major unit” imply province and “minor unit” district?

Thank you in advance.


Semee Yoon


Thank you for the excellent, detailed questions regarding geography for the census samples of Vietnam.

First, only the 2009 sample contains the district codes because the sample percentage for the long form is 15%, while earlier samples are 5% (1989) and 3% (1999) and thus are not designed to be representative at the district level. At this time there is no way to obtain district identifiers for 1989 or 1999 samples…

Second, the household identifier is an arbitrary serial number, and thus is not suitable for tracking households across censuses. To protect statistical confidentiality, there is no way to track households from one census to another in any IPUMS-International samples.

Third, yes, mgrate5, in the case of Vietnam, refers to province and district as the major and minor units, respectively. This is documented on the comparability tab of the variable:

Let me add that, later this year, we intend to request short form samples to facilitate analysis at the district level. The General Statisiics Office of Vietnam is one of the founding members of IPUMS-International, so hopefully the negotiations will be fruitful.