The Integrated Household Survey is one of the primary instruments implemented by the Government of Malawi through the National Statistical Office (NSO) roughly every 5 years to monitor and evaluate the changing conditions of Malawian households. The IHS data have, among other insights, provided benchmark poverty and vulnerability indicators to foster evidence-based policy formulation and monitor the progress of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the goals listed as part of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS).
The First Integrated Household Survey (IHS1) was designed by the NSO with technical assistance from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the World Bank (WB) to provide a complete and integrated data set to better understand target groups of households affected by poverty. The IHS1 was conducted in Malawi from November 1997 through October 1998 and provided for a broad set of applications on policy issues regarding households' behavior and welfare, distribution of income, employment, health and education.
The Integrated Household Survey (IHS) was a comprehensive socio-economic survey of the living standards of households in all districts of Malawi. The National Statistical Office administered the IHS questionnaire to about 12,900 households over a 12 month period, November 1997 to October 1998.
The IHS had five main objectives:
· To provide a complete and integrated data set to arrive at a better understanding of households in poverty.
· To serve a much broader set of applications on policy issues regarding: Household behaviour and welfare, Distribution of income and expenditure, Employment and Migration, Health, fertility and nutrition, Education and Access to Social facilities.
· To provide fresh information on expenditure patterns of households. This information could be useful in the revision of commodity weights for the consumer price indices.
· To provide estimates of final household consumption expenditure to serve as a basis for deriving direct estimates in the National Accounts of final household consumption expenditure.
· To rationalise data collection, since household surveys were carried out in an uncoordinated manner in the past. The IHS addresses the interests of various users in one integrated data set with inter-linked modules.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Version 01: Edited, anonymous datasets for public distribution.
Datasets are identical to DDI_MWI_1997_IHS-I_v01_M.
The survey is comprehensive in its coverage because welfare has many dimensions that need to be investigated. These include expenditure, income, assets, education, health and employment. In addition each aspect of household welfare and behaviour cannot be properly understood on its own, but has to be placed within the context of the whole. Data were collected at the household level since the household is an important social and economic unit within which many decisions concerning the activities and well being of household members are taken. The survey therefore covered both production and consumption of the household since the decision to do one generally affects the other.
The 1997-1998 Malawi Integrated Household Survey covered the following topics:
· Household roster
· Vital statistics
· Fertility and mortality
· Nutrition and anthropometrics
· Current expenditure
· Crop production and sales
· Livestock and poultry ownership
· Non-farm activities and income
· Employment and Migration
· Access to social facilities
The survey covered households from both the urban and rural areas of the country. The sample coverage of 12,960 households was designed such that it would give an overall relative standard error of 15 percent. These households were chosen from 29 Survey Districts (Statistical abstract Main survey.pdf page 5 ).
Data were collected in monthly rounds of 60 enumeration areas/clusters over a period of 12 months to account for seasonal effects during the year. There were 720 Enumeration Areas/Clusters (EAs) with 20 households being selected from each rural EA and 10 households from each urban EA. The sampling was designed to ensure that at least 240 households were interviewed in each survey district to provide an acceptable level of accuracy for each variable.
Producers and sponsors
National Statistical Office (NSO)
Ministry of Development Planning and Cooperation
The survey households were chosen following a multi-stage clustered random sampling approach. The 29 survey districts were grouped into 4 urban and 25 rural districts. All the districts were included in the survey. Separate procedures were followed in urban and rural areas.
This survey was carried out between November 1997 and October 1998 by our counterpart agency, the National Statistical Office, based in Zomba. The desire was to produce information that was representative at the district level. Consequently, all of the 25 administrative districts of the country formed clusters for the first stage of the sampling process. (There are now 26 districts, as one of the 25 was since subdivided.) Additionally, each of the four urban centers of Malawi - Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu - were treated as a separate statistical district. In total, twenty-nine statistical districts for which representative data was sought were delimited. Slightly different sample selection procedures were used in the rural and urban districts.
Rural district sample selection
The next level below the district in the administrative hierarchy of the country is the traditional authority (TA) in rural areas and the ward in urban areas. In each of the 25 rural statistical districts, TAs were randomly selected from comprehensive lists of all TAs in the district. The number of TAs selected was done roughly proportional to population size in the statistical district. In the districts with small populations, only one TA was selected. The median number of TAs selected in a district was two, whereas in Lilongwe district, the most populous district, five TAs were selected. Comprehensive lists of all enumeration areas (EA) - a sub-unit of the TA - in the selected TAs were drawn up. Twelve EAs were randomly selected in each TA. The interview schedule involved interviewing all sample households in one of these twelve EAs each month of the year from November 1997 to October 1998. Comprehensive lists of all households in these selected EAs were then drawn up. Twenty households were randomly selected from these lists in each EA, for a total of 240 households for any one TA.
Urban district sample selection
In the urban areas, the wards were ignored. Rather a comprehensive list of the enumeration areas - a sub-unit of the wards - was used for random selection of EAs. The number selected was roughly in proportion to population with the number of EAs being multiples of 12 to reflect the 12 months of the survey year (Blantyre - 60 EAs, Zomba - 24 EAs, Lilongwe - 36 EAs, Mzuzu - 24 EAs). Ten, rather than twenty, households in each of the EAs were then randomly selected from comprehensive lists of households in the selected EAs. Each EA was assigned to be interviewed in one of the twelve months of the survey year, e.g. all of the selected households in five EAs were interviewed each month in Blantyre, three EAs in Lilongwe, and all selected households in two EAs in Zomba and Mzuzu.
The total sample size was 12,960 households, with 11,520 households in rural areas and 1,440 urban households. Each sample household was interviewed at the beginning of one of the twelve months of the survey year. The sample households were provided with a diary of expenditures to complete over the following 28 days. All household expenditures over that period were recorded in the diary. The households were visited every third day during the month to monitor the diary entries.
Weights are provided in the constructed files.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
A total of 60 enumerators were employed to collect the information during the survey and each enumerator was provided with a pedal cycle. Each enumerator collected information from selected households for a period of 12 months.
Data were collected using two main forms. These forms are described in more detail below:
(a) FORM IHS-2: Household Characteristics, Income and Expenditure: This form collected data on almost all the modules of the Integrated Household Survey (37 modules). The data collected included the household roster, vital statistics, fertility and mortality, nutrition and anthropometrics, education, health, household expenditure, crop production and sales, livestock and poultry ownership, non-farm activities and income, assets, employment and migration and access to facilities.
(b) Form IHS- 3: Diary of Expenditure: Data on daily expenditure was captured using this type of form. Households were asked to maintain the diary for a period of 28 days.
Data entry programs were written in IMPS (Integrated Microcomputer Processing System) and data from the questionnaires was captured onto computers initially at NSO's regional centres, and later at NSO headquarters in Zomba. The output from IMPS was in ASCII format, which had to be translated to SPSS. The data was then cleaned in and tabulated in SPSS and STATA, a process which was largely completed by end May 2000.
National Statistical Office
Government of Malawi
Licensed access, the data cannot be distributed outside of the World Bank.
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
National Statistical Office. Malawi - First Integrated Household Survey (IHS) 1997-1998, Ref. MWI_2017_IHS-I_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [url] on [date].
National Statistical Office
Government of Malawi
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) National Statistical Office
DDI Document ID
National Statistical Office
Government of Malawi
Ducumentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 02: (September 2020) Identical to version 01 except additional external documents were added.
Version 01: (August 2012) Adapted from "DDI-MWI-IHS-1998-WB-01" ddi that was produced by the Malawi National Statistical Office.