Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Demographic Research
Title The quality of demographic data on older Africans
Author(s)
Volume 34
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 143-174
URL http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol34/5/34-5.pdf
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Developing appropriate and equitable policies for older people in Africa requires
accurate and reliable data. It is unclear whether existing data can accurately assess older
African population structures, let alone provide the detailed information needed to
inform policy decision-making.
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate the quality of nationally representative data on older Africans through
examining the accuracy of age data collected from different sources.
METHODS
To measure the accuracy of age reporting overall we calculate Whipple’s Index, and a
modified Whipple’s Index for older adults, using the single year age-sex distributions
from (a) the household roster of 17 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), (b) the
censuses of 12 of these countries, and (c) the Living Standards Measurement Study
(LSMS) for Ethiopia and Niger. We compare reported sex ratios by age.
RESULTS
The quality of age data is very poor for most countries outside Southern Africa,
especially for older adults. In some Sahelian countries DHS surveys appear to omit a
considerable proportion of older women. Data on population structure of older people
by age and sex produced by the DHS and the census are inconsistent and contradictory.

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