The principal focus of the survey is an issue of interest to us all . the welfare level of Malawian individuals and households. The survey data will be used in analyses to determine what proportion of Malawians are unable to meet their basic needs to enjoy an adequate standard of living and are living in poverty. These studies will also consider what accounts for some households being able to attain and sustain such a standard of living and what might be done to assist those households and individuals now living in poverty to escape poverty. The information collected in the IHS also will be used in a range of other studies, including examining employment, health, nutritional status, agriculture, as well as better understanding how households respond to changes in the macroeconomic environment. As you will learn, the data collected using the IHS is particularly rich because it integrates such a wide range of aspects of household and individual characteristics.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Unit of Analysis
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
National Statistical Office
The sample design for the IHS-2 is different from the sample design in IHS-1. In both surveys, the sample was designed to provide district estimates of welfare indicators. Because a census had been done in 1998 after the IHS-1, it was possible to have an updated sample frame for the sample design used in the IHS-2. The sample for IHS-2 was drawn using a two-stage stratified sampling procedure from a sample frame using the 1998 Population Census Enumeration Areas (EAs). The population covered by the IHS-2 was all individuals living in selected households.
The sample frame includes all three regions of Malawi: north, centre and south. The IHS-2 stratified the country into rural and urban strata. The urban strata include the four major urban areas: Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu, and the Municipality of Zomba. All other areas including Bomas2 are considered as rural areas. The total sample was 11,280 households (564 EAs x 20 households). Information on sampling errors for consumption from the IHS1 (October 1997 - September 1998) was used to help determine the minimum sample size in each domain. These domains were further divided into a number of smaller strata based on the administrative system in the country. Each of the twenty-seven districts was considered as a separate sub-stratum of the main rural stratum (for IHS-2, Likoma District was excluded because of difficulty in travel to the island, so only twenty-six administrative districts were considered). Thus the total number of strata in the survey was thirty: twenty-six districts and four urban centers.
See detail sampling information in technical documents which is provided in this documentation.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Mode of data collection
Type of Research Instrument
The IHS-2 survey used two questionnaires to collect the information: a household questionnaire; and a community questionnaire, as was the case for the 1997-98 ISH-1. Both the household and community questionnaires were significantly revised for the IHS-2. The IHS-2 household questionnaire maintained comparisons with the earlier IHS-1 household questionnaire wherever possible. However, the IHS-2 questionnaire is longer and more detailed. In addition, new modules were added.
There were five modules included in the 2004-05 questionnaire that did not appear in the 1997-98 questionnaire. These included Security and Safety, Social Safety Nets, Credit, Subjective Assessment of Well-being, and Recent Shocks to the Household. In addition there were seven agricultural modules that collected more detailed information on the agricultural situation in households than was collected in IHS-1.
Unlike in the 1997-98 survey, the monthly diary of expenditure was not used in the IHS-2 because of the problems encountered in the proper filling out of this module in 1997-98. The diary was replaced with 5 modules that were administered by the Enumerator: Module H Consumption of Selected Food over the Past Three Days, Module I on Food Expenditure with a recall period of the past week, Module J Non-Food Expenditure with a recall period of the past week and one month, Module K Non-Food Expenditures with a recall period of the past three months, and Module L Non-Food Expenditures with a recall period of the past 12 months. Different items are included in each module depending on the frequency of purchase.
Module H Consumption of Selected Food over the Past Three Days, was created to provide comparability to the data collected in the in 1997-98.
Anthropometric information was collected from every child aged between 6-59 months in both surveys. The information collected in IHS-2 included a measure of the presence of OEDEMA in addition to weight in kilograms, and height (or length) in centimeters.
The IHS-2 Community Questionnaire was designed to collect information that is common to all households in a given area. During the survey a “community” was defined as the village or urban location surrounding the enumeration area selected for inclusion in the sample and which most residents recognise as being their community. The questionnaire was administered to a group of several knowledgeable residents such as the village headman, headmaster of the local school, agricultural field assistant, religious leaders, local merchants, health workers and long-term knowledgeable residents. Information collected included basic physical and demographic characteristics of the community; access to basic services; economic activities; agriculture; how conditions have changed over the last five years; and prices for 47 common food items, non-food items, and ganyu labor.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
LSMS Data Manager
The World Bank
World Bank, Development Economics Data Group
Generation of DDI documentation
Date of Production
Version 0.2 (September - documented using updated received from Evelyn (LSMS))