The STEP project consists of a Household Surveys collection and an Employer Surveys collection.
These surveys are part of the STEP Household Surveys collection.
So far, two waves of STEP Household Surveys have been implemented in 12 countries. The third wave is under preparation.
The first wave started in September 2011 and was completed in December 2013. Wave 1 countries are: Bolivia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Lao PDR, Vietnam, the Yunnan Province in China, Ghana, and Ukraine.
The second wave started in August 2012 and was completed in June 2014. Wave 2 countries are: Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Kenya.
The STEP (Skills Toward Employment and Productivity) Measurement program is the first ever initiative to generate internationally comparable data on skills available in developing countries. The program implements standardized surveys to gather information on the supply and distribution of skills and the demand for skills in labor market of low-income countries.
The uniquely-designed Household Survey includes modules that measure the cognitive skills (reading, writing and numeracy), socio-emotional skills (personality, behavior and preferences) and job-specific skills (subset of transversal skills with direct job relevance) of a representative sample of adults aged 15 to 64 living in urban areas, whether they work or not. The cognitive skills module also incorporates a direct assessment of reading literacy based on the Survey of Adults Skills instruments. Modules also gather information about family, health and language.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis are the individual respondents and households. A household roster is undertaken at the start of the survey and the individual respondent is randomly selected among all household members aged 15 to 64 included. The random selection process was designed by the STEP team and compliance with the procedure is carefully monitored during fieldwork.
Version 02, edited anonymous datasets for public distribution.
Version 01 was published in June 2014, but is now replaced with v02.
The difference between v02 and v01 datasets:
1) The literacy variables had incorrect labelling, which has now been fixed
2) The 'emp' variable has been cleaned
3) The 'write_dif' variable has been corrected
4) All monetary variables (identifiable by '_usd') have been converted to PPP dollars
The scope of the study includes:
- household demographic characteristics
- dwelling characteristics
- education and training
- job skill requirements
- personality, behavior and preferences
- language and family background
- reading literacy test assessment
Areas are classified as urban based on each country's official definition.Some STEP surveys had narrower urban sampling. In Yunnan Province the sample covered the urban areas of Kunming.
- Detailed information is provided in the weighting documentation.
The STEP target population is the urban population aged 15 to 64 included, living in urban areas, as defined by each country's statistical office.
The target population for the China-Yunnan STEP survey comprised all non-institutionalized persons 15 to 64 years of age (inclusive) living in private dwellings in urban areas of Kunming at the time of data collection.
The following are excluded from the sample:
- Residents of institutions (prisons, hospitals, etc)
- Residents of senior homes and hospices
- Residents of other group dwellings such as college dormitories, halfway homes, workers' quarters, etc
- Persons living outside the country at the time of data collection
In some countries, extremely remote villages or conflict-ridden regions could not be surveyed. These cases are listed in the weighting documentation.
Producers and sponsors
STEP Co-Task Team Leader, Education Global Practice
Maria Laura Sanchez Puerta
STEP Co-Task Team Leader, Social Protection and Labor Global Practice
World Bank Consultant Project Coordinator
Technical assistance in project management, data collection, data processing and data analysis
World Bank Consultant Senior Labor Economist
Technical assistance in project management, questionnaire design, and data analysis
World Bank Consultant Survey Consultant
Technical assistance in questionnaire design, sampling methodology, and data collection
Sebastian Monroy Taborda
World Bank Consultant Research Analyst
Technical assistance in data processing and data analysis
Multi-Donor Trust Fund Labor Markets, Job Creation and Economic Growth
Bank Netherlands Partnership Program
Educational Testing Services
Designed the Reading Literacy Assessment Module and conducted the preliminary analysis of the reading literacy data, including generating plausible values for the Extended Assessment
The China-Yunnan survey firm implemented a partial literacy assessment design. The partial assessment required each selected person to attempt to complete a General Booklet comprising Reading Components and a set of Core Literacy Items. The partial assessment sampling objective was to have a minimum of about 2000 selected persons attempt the General Booklet. The target population for the China-Yunnan STEP survey comprised all non-institutionalized persons 15 to 64 years of age (inclusive) living in private dwellings in urban areas of Kunming at the time of data collection. The sample frame for the selection of first stage sample units was the Excel file 'sampling frame for STEP _CHINA' that was provided by the China-Yunnan survey firm. The frame is a complete list of first stage sampling units in the urban areas of Kunming. The source of this sample frame is the National Population Census, November, 2010. The sample frame includes 5564 PSUs in 299 Census Enumeration Areas. According to the sample frame, there are 1,067,256 households in the 5564 PSUs.
The China-Yunnan sample design was a 3 stage cluster sample design.
First Stage Sample
The primary sample unit (PSU) is a Census Enumeration Area (CEA) Block. The sampling objective was to conduct interviews in 135 CEA Blocks. At the first stage of sample selection, 27 additional PSUs were also selected as reserve PSUs to be used in the event that it was impossible to obtain any interviews in one or more of the initial PSUs. A total of 162 PSUs were selected with probability proportional to size, where the measure of size was the number of households in a PSU. Subsequently, from the file of 162 sampled PSUs, a PPS sample of 135 PSUs was selected to be the 'Initial' PSU sample. Note that none of the 27 reserve PSUs was activated during data collection.
Second Stage Sample
The second stage sample unit (SSU) is a household. The sampling objective was to obtain interviews at 15 households within each selected PSU. At the second stage of sample selection, 30 households were selected in each PSU using a systematic random method. The 30 households were randomly divided into 15 'Initial' households, and 15 'Reserve' households that were ranked according to the random sample selection order.
Third Stage Sample
The third stage sample unit was an individual aged 15-64 (inclusive). The sampling objective was to select one individual with equal probability from each selected household.
The response rate for Yunnan Province (urban) was 98% (See STEP Methodology Note Table 4)
While the China-Yunnan three-stage stratified cluster design greatly enhanced the operational feasibility of data collection, it resulted in differential probabilities of selection for the selected persons. Consequently, each selected person in the survey does not necessarily represent the same number of persons in the target population. To account for differential probabilities of selection due to the nature of the design and to ensure accurate survey estimates, STEP requires a sampling weight for each person that participated in the survey.
The objectives of the STEP weighting are to construct a set of survey weights to compensate for unequal probabilities of selection, to compensate for household-level non-response and person-level non-response and to adjust the weighted sample distribution for key variables of interest (for example, age, gender, education) so that it conforms to a known population distribution for these variables.
Detailed information about weighting procedures is available in "STEP Weighting Procedures Summary", provided in external resources.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Each interviewer team reports to a team supervisor. Interviewers must hand over to their supervisor properly filled questionnaires and reading exercise booklets (for Reading Literacy Assessment), and report all information about the fieldwork conducted.
Team supervisors are responsible for coordinating fieldwork, monitoring interviewers' work, documenting non-response, assigning reading exercise booklets and communicating regularly with a field manager. Also, once the household listing exercise is completed, the team supervisor randomly selects 15 households to be interviewed in the primary sampling unit (PSU), as well as reserve households that may be required to be activated (used) in the case of a non-response by one of the originally selected 15 households.
Field supervision details are outlined in "National Survey Design Planning Report" and "Interviewer's Manual and Team Supervisor's Manual", available in external resources.
Data Collection Notes
Each component of the STEP Survey in Yunnan Province was carried out by a personal visit using a Paper And Pencil Interview (PAPI) method.
As the STEP program requires all surveys to be implemented in a standardized way, particular attention was provided to implementation processes
1) The survey firm in Yunnan Province wrote up a National Survey Design Planning Report (NSDPR) detailing how it intended to implement the STEP survey while complying with the STEP Technical Standards. The NSDPRs were submitted to the WB STEP team for approval.
2) The WB STEP team and Educational Testing Services (ETS) provided 2 workshops to all survey firms. The first was a 2-day workshop provided via video conference and aimed at presenting the STEP Technical Standards. The second workshop was organized over 2 full weeks at the WB's Headquarters and consisted in a training course to project managers from each survey firm on the survey instruments - Background Questionnaire and Reading Literacy Assessment - as well as on implementation and data management procedures.
3) Based on the STEP Technical Standards, the survey firms adapted and translated the STEP survey instruments, the Interviewer Manual, and all training materials.
4) Once the instruments had been adapted and translated, survey firms carried out a pre-test, usually including 20-30 interviews. Findings from the pre-test were discussed with the WB STEP team and ETS to finalize the adaptation and translation of the STEP survey instruments.In Yunnan Province the survey was implemented in Mandarin.
5) Each survey firm provided a 2-week training course to its enumerators, using training materials developed by the WB STEP team (after translation and adaptation). The WB STEP team's Survey Consultant helped organize the training and was present in the country for the first few days at least of the training. In addition, the WB STEP team in Washington DC provided just-in-time technical assistance, answering questions sent by the survey firm during the training. The training included in-field mock interviews in addition to in-class courses. At the end of the training, survey firms only retained enumerators having demonstrated a good understanding of the instruments.
6) As per STEP Technical Standards, data collection started within a few days of the end of the enumerators' training course.The composition of each country's fieldwork teams is described in the NSDPR, as well as reporting procedures and quality control processes.Weekly reports were sent to the WB STEP team, which provided just-in-time technical assistance during fieldwork to answer questions or concerns. Regular calls or VCs were also held between survey firms and the WB STEP team to discuss progress. Matters discussed usually involved questions on how to deal with specific situations, strategies to reduce non-response, the activation of reserve households, and general pace of progress.
7) Interviews lasted between 120 and 150 minutes, depending on respondents' reading proficiency.
Detailed information on the survey processes is provided in the National Survey Design Planning Report (NSDPR). It described the project management structure, fieldwork teams and reporting processes.
Yunnan Modern Statistical Application Research Center at the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics
The STEP survey instruments include:
- The background Questionnaire developed by the WB STEP team
- Reading Literacy Assessment developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS).
All countries adapted and translated both instruments following the STEP Technical Standards: 2 independent translators adapted and translated the Background Questionnaire and Reading Literacy Assessment, while reconciliation was carried out by a third translator.
The WB STEP team and ETS collaborated closely with the Chinese survey firm during the process and reviewed the adaptation and translation to Mandarin using a back translation.
The survey instruments were both piloted as part of the survey pretest.
The adapted Background Questionnaires are provided in English as external resources. The Reading Literacy Assessment is protected by copyright and will not be published.
STEP Data Management Process:
1) Raw data is sent by the survey firm
2) The WB STEP team runs data checks on the Background Questionnaire data.
- ETS runs data checks on the Reading Literacy Assessment data.
- Comments and questions are sent back to the survey firm.
3) The survey firm reviews comments and questions. When a data entry error is identified, the survey firm corrects the data.
4) The WB STEP team and ETS check the data files are clean. This might require additional iterations with the survey firm.
5) Once the data has been checked and cleaned, the WB STEP team computes the weights. Weights are computed by the STEP team to ensure consistency across sampling methodologies.
6) ETS scales the Reading Literacy Assessment data.
7) The WB STEP team merges the Background Questionnaire data with the Reading Literacy Assessment data and computes derived variables.
Detailed information data processing in STEP surveys is provided in the 'Guidelines for STEP Data Entry Programs' document provided as an external resource. The template do-file used by the STEP team to check the raw background questionnaire data is provided as an external resource.
Estimates of Sampling Error
A weighting documentation was prepared for each participating country and provides some information on sampling errors.
All country weighting documentations are provided as an external resource.
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
World Bank. China Yunnan STEP Skills Measurement Household Survey 2012 (Wave 1). Ref. CHN_2012_STEP-HH_v02_M. Dataset downloaded from [URL] on [date].
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.
(c) STEP 2014, The World Bank
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 02 (March 2016)
Changes in v02 of study documentation compared to v01 published in June 2014
- v01 datasets were replaced with v02
- Study Title, Series Information and Abstract were edited