The 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2003 NDHS) is the third national Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Nigeria. The 2003 NDHS is based on a nationally representative sample of over 7,000 households. All women age 15-49 in these households and all men age 15-59 in a subsample of one-third of the households were individually interviewed. The survey provides up-to-date information on the population and health situation in Nigeria.
The 2003 NDHS was designed to provide estimates for key indicators such as fertility, contraceptive use, infant and child mortality, immunization levels, use of family planning, maternal and child health, breastfeeding practices, nutritional status of mothers and young children, use of mosquito nets, female genital cutting, marriage, sexual activity, and awareness and behaviour regarding AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections in Nigeria.
Fertility Levels, Trends, and Preferences. The total fertility rate (TFR) in Nigeria is 5.7. This means that at current fertility levels, the average Nigerian woman who is at the beginning of her childbearing years will give birth to 5.7 children by the end of her lifetime. Compared with previous national surveys, the 2003 survey shows a modest decline in fertility over the last two decades: from a TFR of 6.3 in the 1981-82 National Fertility Survey (NFS) to 6.0 in the 1990 NDHS to 5.7 in the 2003 NDHS. However, the 2003 NDHS rate of 5.7 is significantly higher than the 1999 NDHS rate of 5.2. Analysis has shown that the 1999 survey underestimated the true levels of fertility in Nigeria.
On average, rural women will have one more child than urban women (6.1 and 4.9, respectively). Fertility varies considerably by region of residence, with lower rates in the south and higher rates in the north. Fertility also has a strong negative correlation with a woman's educational attainment.
Most Nigerians, irrespective of their number of living children, want large families. The ideal number of children is 6.7 for all women and 7.3 for currently married women. Nigerian men want even more children than women. The ideal number of children for all men is 8.6 and for currently married men is 10.6. Clearly, one reason for the slow decline in Nigerian fertility is the desire for large families.
- FAMILY PLANNING
Knowledge of Family Planning Methods. About eight in ten women and nine in ten men know at least one modern method of family planning. The pill, injectables, and the male condom are the most widely known modern methods among both women and men. Mass media is an important source of information on family planning. Radio is the most frequent source of family planning messages: 40 percent of women and 56 percent of men say they heard a radio message about family planning during the months preceding the survey. However, more than half of women (56 percent) and 41 percent men were not exposed to family planning messages from a mass media source.
Current Use. A total of 13 percent of currently married women are using a method of family planning, including 8 percent who are using a modern method. The most common modern methods are the pill, injectables, and the male condom (2 percent each). Urban women are more than twice as likely as rural women to use a method of contraception (20 percent versus 9 percent). Contraceptive use varies significantly by region. For example, one-third of married women in the South West use a method of contraception compared with just 4 percent of women in the North East and 5 percent of women in the North West.
- CHILD HEALTH
Mortality. The 2003 NDHS survey estimates infant mortality to be 100 per 1,000 live births for the 1999-2003 period. This infant mortality rate is significantly higher than the estimates from both the 1990 and 1999 NDHS surveys; the earlier surveys underestimated mortality levels in certain regions of the country, which in turn biased downward the national estimates. Thus, the higher rate from the 2003 NDHS is more likely due to better data quality than an actual increase in mortality risk overall.
The rural infant mortality rate (121 per 1,000) is considerably higher than the urban rate (81 per 1,000), due in large part to the difference in neonatal mortality rates. As in other countries, low maternal education, a low position on the household wealth index, and shorter birth intervals are strongly associated with increased mortality risk. The under-five mortality rate for the 1999-2003 period was 201 per 1,000.
Vaccinations. Only 13 percent of Nigerian children age 12-23 months can be considered fully vaccinated, that is, have received BCG, measles, and three doses each of DPT and polio vaccine (excluding the polio vaccine given at birth). This is the lowest vaccination rate among African countries in which DHS surveys have been conducted since 1998. Less than half of children have received each of the recommended vaccinations, with the exception of polio 1 (67 percent) and polio 2 (52 percent). More than three times as many urban children as rural children are fully vaccinated (25 percent and 7 percent, respectively). WHO guidelines are that children should complete the schedule of recommended vaccinations by 12 months of age. In Nigeria, however, only 11 percent of children age 12-23 months received all of the recommended vaccinations before their first birthday.
- WOMEN'S HEALTH
Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is almost universal in Nigeria, with 97 percent of children born in the five years preceding the survey having been breastfed. However, just one-third of children were given breast milk within one hour of birth (32 percent), and less than two-thirds were given breast milk within 24 hours of birth (63 percent). Overall, the median duration of any breastfeeding is 18.6 months, while the median duration of exclusive breastfeeding is only half a month.
Complementary Feeding. At age 6-9 months, the recommended age for introducing complementary foods, three-quarters of breast-feeding infants received solid or semisolid foods during the day or night preceding the interview; 56 percent received food made from grains, 25 percent received meat, fish, shellfish, poultry or eggs, and 24 percent received fruits or vegetables. Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A were consumed by 20 percent of breastfeeding infants age 6-9 months.
Maternal Care. Almost two-thirds of mothers in Nigeria (63 percent) received some antenatal care (ANC) for their most recent live birth in the five years preceding the survey. While one-fifth of mothers (21 percent) received ANC from a doctor, almost four in ten women received care from nurses or midwives (37 percent). Almost half of women (47 percent) made the minimum number of four recommended visits, but most of the women who received antenatal care did not get care within the first three months of pregnancy.
In terms of content of care, slightly more than half of women who received antenatal care said that they were informed of potential pregnancy complications (55 percent). Fifty-eight percent of women received iron tablets; almost two-thirds had a urine or blood sample taken; and 81 percent had their blood pressure measured. Almost half (47 percent) received no tetanus toxoid injections during their most recent birth.
WOMEN'S CHARACTERISTICS AND STATUS
Across all maternal care indicators, rural women are disadvantaged compared with urban women, and there are marked regional differences among women. Overall, women in the south, particularly the South East and South West, received better care than women in the north, especially women in the North East and North West.
Female Circumcision. Almost one-fifth of Nigerian women are circumcised, but the data suggest that the practice is declining. The oldest women are more than twice as likely as the youngest women to have been circumcised (28 percent versus 13 percent). Prevalence is highest among the Yoruba (61 percent) and Igbo (45 percent), who traditionally reside in the South West and South East. Half of the circumcised respondents could not identify the type of procedure performed. Among those women who could identify the type of procedure, the most common type of circumcision involved cutting and removal of flesh (44 percent of all circumcised women). Four percent of women reported that their vaginas were sewn closed during circumcision.
MALARIA CONTROL PROGRAM INDICATORS
Nets. Although malaria is a major public health concern in Nigeria, only 12 percent of households report owning at least one mosquito net. Even fewer, 2 percent of households, own an insecticide treated net (ITN). Rural households are almost three times as likely as urban households to own at least one mosquito net. Overall, 6 percent of children under age five sleep under a mosquito net, including 1 percent of children who sleep under an ITN. Five percent of pregnant women slept under a mosquito net the night before the survey, one-fifth of them under an ITN.
Use of Antimalarials. Overall, 20 percent of women reported that they took an antimalarial for prevention of malaria during their last pregnancy in the five years preceding the survey. Another 17 percent reported that they took an unknown drug, and 4 percent took paracetamol or herbs to prevent malaria. Only 1 percent received intermittent preventative treatment (IPT)-or preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (Fansidar/SP) during an antenatal care visit. Among pregnant women who took an antimalarial, more than half (58 percent) used Daraprim, which has been found to be ineffective as a chemoprophylaxis during pregnancy. Additionally, 39 percent used chloroquine, which was the chemoprophylactic drug of choice until the introduction of IPT in Nigeria in 2001.
Among children who were sick with fever/convulsions, one-third took antimalarial drugs, the majority receiving the drugs the same day as the onset of the fever/convulsions or the following day.
HIV/AIDS AND OTHER STIS
Knowledge. Almost all men (97 percent) and a majority of women (86 percent) reported that they had heard of AIDS. Considerably fewer know how to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus; men are better informed than women. Sixty-three percent of men and 45 percent of women reported knowing that condom use protects against HIV/AIDS. More respon-dents (six in ten women and eight in ten men) reported knowing that limiting the number of sexual partners is a way to avoid HIV/AIDS. Less than half of the population knows that mother to child transmission of HIV is possible through breastfeeding. Few people (less than one in ten) know that a woman living with HIV can take drugs during pregnancy to reduce the risk of transmission.
HIV Testing and Counselling. Six percent of women and 14 percent of men have been tested for HIV and received the results of their test. During the 12 months preceding the survey, only 3 percent of women and 6 percent of men were tested and received their test results. About one-quarter of women received counselling or information about HIV/AIDS during an antenatal care visit.
High-risk Sex. A much higher percentage of men than women report having had sex with a non-marital, noncohabiting partner at some time during the year preceding the survey (39 percent of men versus 14 percent of women). Less than half of men (47 percent) and less than one-quarter of women (23 percent) reported using a condom the last time they had sex with a nonmarital, noncohabiting partner. Fifteen percent of men who are currently married or cohabiting reported having high-risk sex in the past 12 months.
Sexually Transmitted Infections. Five percent of both women and men reported having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or an associated symptom during the 12 months preceding the survey. The never-married population of both women and men are most at risk. Eight percent of never-married women and 7 percent of never-married men reported having an STI or STI symptom. Of these, 68 percent of women and 83 percent of men sought treatment for their STI or STI symptom; however, not everyone went to a health professional.
Orphanhood. Nationwide, fewer than 1 percent of children have lost both parents; 6 percent of children under age 15 have lost at least one parent.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
- Women age 15-49
- Men age 15-54
- Children under 3 years
Unit of Analysis
- Women age 15-49
- Men age 15-54
- Children under 3 years
The population covered by the 2003 DHS is defined as the universe of all women age 10-49 who were either permanent residents of the households in the 2003 NDHS sample or visitors present in the household on the night before the survey were eligible to be interviewed. In addition, in a subsample of one-third of all households selected for the survey, all men age 15-59 were eligible to be interviewed if they were either permanent residents or visitors present in the household on the night before the survey.
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
National Population Commission
U.S. Agency for International Development
Department for International Development (DFID)
Support for the survey
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Support for the survey
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Support for the survey
The principal objective of the 2003 NDHS is to provide current and reliable data on fertility and family planning behaviour, child mortality, children's nutritional status, the utilization of maternal and child health services, and knowledge and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. A related objective is to provide as many of these key indicators as possible for urban and rural areas separately, as well as for each of Nigeria's six geopolitical zones.
The population covered by the 2003 NDHS is defined as the universe of all women age 15-49 and all men age 15-59 in Nigeria. A probability sample of households was selected and all women age 15-49 identified in the households were eligible to be interviewed. In addition, in a subsample of one-third of the households selected for the survey, all men age 15-59 were eligible to be interviewed.
The sample frame for this survey was the list of enumeration areas (EAs) developed for the 1991 Population Census. Administratively, at the time the survey was planned, Nigeria was divided into 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja. Each state was subdivided into local government area (LGA) units and each LGA was divided into localities. In addition to these administrative units, for implementation of the 1991 Population Census, each locality was subdivided into enumeration areas (EAs). The list of approximately 212,080 EAs, with household and population information (from the 1991census) for each EA, was evaluated as a potential sampling frame for the 2003 NDHS. The EAs are grouped by states, by LGAs within a state, and by localities within an LGA, stratified separately by urban and rural areas. Any locality with less than 20,000 population constitutes a rural area. Also available from the 1991 census were maps showing the location of the EAs. These maps needed to be updated in the field before the final household selection. After a careful evaluation, the EA list was used as the sample frame.
The primary sampling unit (PSU), or cluster, for the 2003 NDHS is defined as one or more EAs from the 1991 census frame. A minimum requirement of 50 households per cluster was imposed on the design; in the case of less than 50 households, a contiguous EA was added. The number of clusters in each state was not allocated in proportion to the state's population because of the need to obtain estimates for each of the six zones. Since Nigeria is a country where the majority of the population resides in rural areas, the number of clusters allocated to the urban areas in five out of the six zones was increased in order to obtain reasonable urban estimates.
The target of the 2003 NDHS sample was to obtain completed interviews with about 8,250 women. Based on the level of nonresponse found in the 1999 Nigeria DHS survey, a target of 7,935 households was set. When the sample was implemented, three clusters could not be visited because of communal clashes, so 7,864 households were selected, in which all women age 15-49 were eligible to be interviewed. To obtain estimates of fertility and child mortality with a reasonable level of precision, a minimum of 1,200 completed interviews with women was desired in each zone. In each state, the number of households was not distributed proportionally between urban and rural areas. Also, in six designated states, a minimum of 350 completed interviews were targeted to provide selected indicators.
The 2003 NDHS sample was selected using a stratified, two-stage cluster design. A total of 365 clusters were selected, 165 in urban and 200 in rural areas. Once the number of households was allocated to each state by urban and rural areas, the numbers of clusters was calculated based on an average sample take of 20 completed women's interviews (in 19 selected households) in urban areas, and 25 completed interviews (in 24 selected households) in rural areas. In each urban or rural area in a given state, clusters were selected systematically with equal probability.
SAMPLE FOR MALE SURVEY
In every third household selected, all men age 15-59 listed in the household were eligible to be interviewed. Based on data from the 1999 NDHS, this was expected to produce a total of about 2,800 successfully completed male interviews in the 2003 NDHS.
Table shows household and individual response rates for the 2003 NDHS. A total of 7,864 households were selected for the sample, of which 7,327 were found. The shortfall is largely due to structures that were found to be vacant. Of the 7,327 existing households, 7,225 were successfully interviewed, yielding a household response rate of 99 percent. In these households, 7,985 women were identified as eligible for the individual interview.
Interviews were completed with 95 percent of them. Of the 2,572 eligible men identified, 91 percent were successfully interviewed. There is little difference between urban and rural response rates.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Mode of data collection
In addition, quality control personnel independently reinterviewed selected households after the departure of the teams. These checks were performed periodically through the duration of the fieldwork. ORC Macro also participated in field supervision.
Type of Research Instrument
Three questionnaires were used for the 2003 NDHS: the Household Questionnaire, the Women's Questionnaire, and the Men's Questionnaire. The content of these questionnaires was based on the model questionnaires developed by the MEASURE DHS+ programme for use in countries with low levels of contraceptive use. The questionnaires were adapted during a technical workshop organized by the National Population Commission to reflect relevant issues in population and health in Nigeria. The workshop was attended by experts from the government, NGOs, and international donors. The adapted questionnaires were translated from English into the three major languages (Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba) and pretested during November 2002.
a) The Household Questionnaire was used to list all usual members and visitors in the selected households. Some basic information was collected on the characteristics of each person listed, including age, sex, education, and relationship to the head of the household. The main purpose of the Household Questionnaire was to identify women and men who were eligible for the individual interview. The Household Questionnaire also collected information on characteristics of the household's dwelling unit, such as the source of water, type of toilet facilities, materials used for the floor of the house, ownership of various durable goods, and ownership and use of mosquito nets. Additionally, the Household Questionnaire was used to record height and weight measurements of women age 15-49 and children under the age of 6.
b) The Women's Questionnaire was used to collect information from all women age 15-49. These women were asked questions on the following topics:
- Background characteristics (e.g., education, residential history, media exposure)
- Birth history and childhood mortality
- Knowledge and use of family planning methods
- Fertility preferences
- Antenatal and delivery care
- Breastfeeding and child feeding practices
- Vaccinations and childhood illnesses
- Marriage and sexual activity
- Woman's work and husband's background characteristics
- Awareness and behaviour regarding AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections
- Female genital cutting
c) The Men's Questionnaire was administered to all men age 15-59 living in every third household in the 2003 NDHS sample. The Men's Questionnaire collected much of the same information found in the Women's Questionnaire, but was shorter because it did not contain a reproductive history or questions on maternal and child health or nutrition.
National Population Commission
The processing of the 2003 NDHS results began shortly after the fieldwork commenced. Completed questionnaires were returned periodically from the field to NPC headquarters in Abuja, where they were entered and edited by data processing personnel who were specially trained for this task. The data processing personnel included two supervisors, a questionnaire administrator (who ensured that the expected numbers of questionnaires from all clusters were received), three office editors, 12 data entry operators, and a secondary editor. The concurrent processing of the data was an advantage since the NPC was able to advise field teams of problems detected during the data entry. In particular, tables were generated to check various data quality parameters. As a result, specific feedback was given to the teams to improve performance. The data entry and editing phase of the survey was completed in September 2003.
Nonsampling errors are the results of mistakes made in implementing data collection and data processing, such as failure to locate and interview the correct household, misunderstanding of the questions on the part of either the interviewer or the respondent, and data entry errors. Although numerous efforts were made during the implementation of the 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) to minimize this type of error, nonsampling errors are impossible to avoid and difficult to evaluate statistically.
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.