Integrated Household Living Conditions Assessment II 2009-2010
Integrated Survey (non-LSMS) [hh/is]
IHLCA-II is a nationwide quantitative survey of 18660 households with two rounds of data collection (December 2009/January 2010 and May 2010).
IHLCA surveys should support the system of economic statistics that is the basis for modern National Accounts by providing much needed data on value added in household (informal sector) production. IHLCA data will make it possible to estimate the GDP share of private consumption from the use side or alternatively in terms of household production's share of the GDP from the production side.
The main objectives of the survey have been formulated:
- To obtain an accurate and holistic assessment of population well-being by measuring a number of indicators related to living conditions from an integrated perspective;
- To provide reliable and updated data for identifying different levels of poverty in order to help better focus programmatic interventions and prioritize budget allocations;
- To provide quantitative and qualitative data for better understanding the dimensions of wellbeing and poverty in Myanmar and the endogenous and exogenous factors behind the observed patterns and trends in living conditions;
- To provide baseline information for monitoring progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other national and international targets;
- To develop a rigorous and standardized methodology for establishing a framework for monitoring living conditions and conducting future time-trend analysis.
Given the breadth of information that was to be generated by the survey and the range of stakeholders involved in the project, there were also a number of secondary objectives including:
- The compilation of updated statistics for a series of indicators that were also addressed in previous surveys in Myanmar for comparative time-trend analyses on specific aspects of living conditions where appropriate;
- The compilation of precise statistics on the spatial distribution of poor and non-poor households for poverty mapping;
- For economic and social analysis, improved data for monitoring differentials in living conditions by urban-rural residence, gender and other population sub-groups;
- For policy and programmatic formulation, comprehensive data on the population’s perceptions of living conditions, in particular prioritization in terms of their preferences to improve wellbeing and reduce poverty across regions of the country.
The IHLCA-II results have been used to prepare three separate reports:
- Poverty Profile
- MDG Data Report
- Poverty Dynamics Report
In addition two supplementing reports have been prepared:
- Technical Report (Survey Design and Implementation)
- Quality Report
It was recognized that comparability between the IHLCA-I and IHLCA-II surveys must be ensured to the largest possible extent. To this end the modules and variables were retained and used in the design phase. Briefly this meant the following sets of indicators on nine main areas of social concern:
Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development (MNPED)
Central Statistical Organization (CSO)
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Children Fund
National Nutrition Center
Department of Health Planning
Yangon Institute of Economics
Education Planning and Training Department
Department of Labor
Department of Agricultural Planning
Settlements and Land Records Department
Department of Population
The main focus of the IHLCA-II was to assess the changes in the living conditions of people in Myanmar since IHLCA-I. The national research team considered that the survey design, sampling units and other survey instruments therefore should be as similar as possible to those used in the IHLCA-I.
A stratified multi-stage sample design was used for the IHLCA-I survey with 62 districts as the strata.
Given their special importance, Yangon City and Mandalay City were treated as separate strata. The selection plan in each stratum was as follows. Townships across all districts were used as first stage sampling units (FSU). The sampling frame for the first stage was an official list of townships with their estimated number of households in each district.
The estimated number of households in the excluded 45 townships and from other wards/village tracts represented 5% of the total population.
The second stage sampling unit (SSU) was the ward (urban) or village tract (rural) within the selected townships. The sampling frame for the second stage was the list of wards and villages in the selected townships along with their estimated numbers of households.
All wards and village tracts in each selected township within a particular district were grouped into urban/rural substrata. A predetermined number of wards/villages tracts were then drawn with PPES systematic random selection from those township frames.
Listings of Street segments in selected wards (urban) and villages in selected village tracts (rural) with the number of households were made prior to the household survey. Moreover, the survey teams of supervisors drew sketch maps of the street segment inwards and villages prior to the data collection activities and selected the sample households in each community. With the predetermined path in the community on the sketch map and the sampling interval calculated using the total number of household and the fixed sample size, a unique systematic sample could then be drawn conforming to the random selection with a known selection probability.
The IHLCA-II sample design is a modified IHLCA-I sample design which takes into account of changes in the sample frame since 2004 and retains a panel of 50% from IHLCA-I sample of households.
The same sample of areas (street segments and villages) as the IHLCA-I survey areas were kept. There are altogether 1555 areas. Within each area a sample of 12 households was selected. Six households from the 12 IHLCA-I household sample were selected randomly. An additional six households were selected from the “non-IHLCA-I households in the village or street segment. In some (fairly few) cases there were less than six old IHLCA-I households remaining in the village or street segment due to migration and other causes. In that case all remaining IHLCA-I households were included in the sample. If that was the case then the sample of non-IHLCA-I households were increased so the total sample from the village or street segment added up to 12.
The 50 % panel would allow for studies of gross changes (household dynamics) on a sufficiently large sample while at the same time we also make sure that changes in the population are taken into account.
Sampling weights for estimation
The main issue for estimation was to compute the sampling weights. Since the sample of areas for IHLCA-II was the same as the same sample of areas for IHLCA-I the inclusion probabilities were the same for these areas as in IHLCA-I. So, for the first two stages of selection (townships and wards/village tracts) weights were retained.
The third stage weights differed from those in IHLCA-I. The third stage weight was the combined weight for the third and fourth stages of selection (selection of one street segment or village per ward/village tract and selection of 12 households per street segment or village). The two weights were combined into one because only one street segment or village per ward/village tract was selected.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Global supervision of the field work was undertaken by the ITU (4 staff members) and the Planning Department (115 township supervisors13 and Steering Committee members). They fielded a number of visits to accessible States/Regions to check and make sure that the supervisors and their enumerators were performing their tasks according to the instructions given to them. For some areas they also maintained constant telephone contacts that were of great help, when various problems were encountered by the field staff.
A Survey Management team supervised field operations in each S/R. Coverage of all S/Rs at Central Level was limited to some extent due to accessibility. The Technical Unit focused on S/Rs where trainers had the lowest scores. When S/Rs were not accessible, supervision at the Central Level was done by means of phone communications and by a reporting system between the ITU and S/R supervisors.
Data Collection Notes
Field operations and training
Supervisor training and enumerator recruitment
Prior to the data collection activities for both rounds, training for supervisors was conducted. Sessions for Training of Trainers (TOT) for Round 1 operations took place respectively in Nay Pyi Taw from 19 October 2009 to 10 November 2009. 92 participants who will be township supervisors attended the training. The training included practical field pilot surveys for sampling and mapping as well as interviewing with the household questionnaires in villages of Tatkone township which is located near Nay Pyi Taw. These were followed by multiplier training sessions for enumerators in the respective States/Regions by the already trained trainers. At the end of TOT sessions a test was conducted to assess trainees, especially their understanding of the material taught.
Testing of questionnaire was done in Thonegwa Township in Yangon Region in the last week of September, 2009 with the Yangon Region Planning Department personnel. After the test and judgment of the student’s capability, the required number of interviewers were appointed. Another issue relevant to the collection of quality data was cultural and gender sensitivity, particularly with regard to questions of a highly personal nature such as reproductive health. Field enumerators were recruited at the local level, in order to ensure that the interviews were conducted in the respondents’ own language.
In April and May 2010 another wave of training sessions took place in preparation for Round 2 operations from 25 March 2010 to 7 April 2010. The supervisor and enumerator trainings were conducted in one of the two townships in each district. The training of field enumerators took place during the period from 30 November 2009 to 11 December 2009. For Round II, training for both field supervisors and enumerators took place during the period 28 April 2010 to 5 May 2010. Enumerators during those sessions were given practical pilot tests. The exams for trainers of supervisors and enumerators were quite high level, hence the grades obtained. In IHLCA-II R2 TOT training all township supervisors attended the TOT training to make the survey field operations more uniform and efficient.
IHLCA-II entailed the same two-round data collection approach for monitoring household living conditions (now December 2009/January 2010 and May 2010) to ensure comparability. The reason behind were still valid: seasonal variations in household income, expenditure and consumption patterns should be captured. Also that a multiple round survey increases the level of confidence between enumerators and respondents, and helps increase respondents’ memories thereby reducing recall errors. Field Enumerators (776 in total) and field supervisors (168 in total) were organized into teams comprising on average 1 supervisor and 5 enumerators, and each team was supposed to have access to at least transportation. A detailed breakdown number of supervisors and enumerators by State/Region is given in the following table.
Field teams were also composed of at least one female and one male enumerator, so that respondents could be interviewed by a person of the same sex. As previously mentioned, strong literacy and mathematical skills were required for all field staff.
The teams were also provided with the relevant set of questionnaires, necessary stationeries and equipment, and field measuring tools (Salter weighting scales). Enumerators were essentially dealing with the administration of Household questionnaires. A subset of female enumerators were also be involved in the administration of the Community Price survey. Field supervisors were entirely in charge of the Community questionnaire. Finally, the Township Profile information was collected by the Township Officers.
The field work to be carried out by the Planning Department field staff concerning the households consisted of different operations, broken down into two rounds known as Round 1 and Round 2. Round 1 activities started in December 2009 and lasted approximately one month, and Round 2 in May 2010 for also approximately one month duration.
During Round 1
All households in the sampled townships were listed;
Community and household information were collected.
Of the 12 households in IHLCA-I a sample of six (6) were retained and the remaining six households were sampled. If there were less than six households still in the village or street segment due to migration and other causes all remaining IHLCA-I households were included in the sample. If that was the case then the sample of non-IHLCA-I households were increased so the total sample from the village or street segment added up to 12.
During Round 2
The same sampled households as in Round I were re-visited; no new households were added. The main aim was to capture detailed information on seasonal variables.
The following survey questionnaires were used for the IHLCA survey11:
The Household questionnaire, administered at household level, included 9 modules covering different aspects of household living conditions:
- Module 1: Household Basic Characteristics;
- Module 2: Housing;
- Module 3: Education;
- Module 4: Health;
- Module 5: Consumption Expenditures;
- Module 6: Household Assets;
- Module 7: Labour and Employment;
- Module 8: Business
- Module 9: Finance and Savings.
The Community questionnaire, administered to local key informants included 4 modules that aimed at providing general information on the village/wards where the survey was being undertaken and at reducing the length of the household interview. The questionnaire was only administered in the first round. Modules included in the Community questionnaire were:
- Module 1.1: Village/Ward Infrastructure;
- Module 1.2: Population;
- Module 1.3: Housing;
- Module 1.4: Labour and Employment
- Module 1.5: Business Activities;
- Module 1.6: Agricultural Activities;
- Module 1.7: Finance and Savings;
- Module 2: Schools
- Module 3: Health facilities
- Module 4: Pharmacies and Drug Stores
The Community price questionnaire which aimed at providing information on the prices of specific items in each village/ward surveyed. These prices were collected in case the quality of implicit prices calculated from the household survey was not satisfactory. Since there were no problems with implicit prices, community level prices were not used. The Community price questionnaire comprised of only one module.
The Township Profile questionnaire aimed at collecting administrative information about the Townships included in the survey. It was not used in the data analysis.
All final questionnaires were translated from English to Myanmar.
Depending on the nature of the information to be collected, different types of questions (current status and retrospective) were included in the survey instruments. For instance, current status questions were used to assess Housing condition and level of education and literacy. On the other hand, retrospective questions were also used to collect information on other items including household consumption expenditures. Thus one important issue was the reference period for specific consumption items. In order to minimize recall errors, different reference periods were used for different types of items. In particular, shorter periods were used for smaller items (such as 7days for frequently bought food items and 30 days for less frequently bought food items and non-food items), and longer periods for larger items (such as six months for bulky non-food items and equipment). All above was in line with IHLCA-I.
Data editing and coding
Overall editing and coding of the questionnaires received from the field was under the responsibility of the State and Region Level Data Entry Management Committee. The operations involved mainly:
- Checking and correcting for inconsistencies in the data;
- Identifying and correcting for outliers;
- Recoding of variables when necessary.
Prior to data keying and processing activities, training sessions were organized for all data entry and processing staff. At the end of the TOT trainings of Round 1 and Round 2, a test was administered to the trainees to assess their mastering of the material and provide additional training if necessary.
In order to continually monitor the quality of the information being collected and correct any potential discrepancies as soon as possible, entry and validation of incoming data for the quantitative survey were conducted at the PD states/regions offices, and then transferred to PD Central Level Office. The raw micro-datasets for all states/regions were then aggregated and processed at the national level by PD staff under the supervision of the Technical Unit at PD Central Level Office in Nay Pyi Taw. Each shift of data entry team consisted of 1 Shift Coordinator, 1 team consisting of 1 to 5 Supervisor(s) and 1 Control Clerk. One data entry supervisor had to manage 2 to 5 data entry operators. On each shift, there was at least one assistant director from the State/Region level responsible for the overall coordination. This person was referred to as the (First or Second) Shift Coordinator (SC). Problems that Supervisors could not resolve were brought to the attention of the SC. Check-out of batches from the Central Storage Area was also done by the SC.
The Supervisors dedicated their time to monitoring the activity of the 2 to 5 Keyers (this includes Verifiers as well) in their team, and answering any questions about the keying process or other substantive procedures. They also established and entered filenames and initial geographic codes for each batch assigned to a Keyer, to ensure their accuracy. One Control Clerk carried out the administrative functions for the teams. This included assigning batches to a Keyer, tracking error rates, and all other record keeping tasks. Due to lack of staff from some State/Region, most of the Shift Coordinator and supervisor shared the responsibility of the Control Clerk's task. Each Keyer was given a two-digit identification number. All monitoring and record-keeping activity used the Keyer's identification number.
The Keying Operation had the following components:
- One computer for each Keyer
- computers for use by the Control Clerks, Supervisors, or Shift Coordinator;
- 1-2 printers, connected to the above computers
- one copy machine
- Uninterruptible Power Supply for each computer set
- Stand by generator
CSPro 4.0 was installed on all computers; however on the computers for use by the Keyers, the CSPro 4.0 icon was removed, as one did not want to give easy access to the software by the Keyers in the event they attempted to modify the data entry application. Instead, an icon was placed on the desktop, linked to invoke CSEntry with the proper data entry application. The PFF files were suitably set up by the Supervisor.
Once the Keyer had completed their Batch, the Control Clerk copied the Keyer's data and log files. The system placed one copy of the data file in a "safe" directory on the server, one that was used strictly as an archive of work done. A second copy was to be placed on the server in a working directory, where it was be later copied to another Keyer's machine for verification.
Reference data files
The intention is to consolidate data from both IHLCA surveys into a database. Today all data files rest in ordinary file formats (CSPro, SPSS) on desktop computers and CDs and are therefore facing the following major problems:
1. Data are vulnerable to unintentional change or even destruction. There is no good backup system at hand and workstations are not always properly secured.
2. Data integrity is low. There is no clear system that informs of the latest valid versions of data file, meaning that future users may arrive at different results even when using the same set of programs.
3. Rules for data ownership and responsibilities are not sufficient.
With a database system in place these problems are addressed. It is suggested that the system to be developed in the beginning of 2011 should be developed in Yangon and mirrored in Nay Pyi Taw. Data will then be propagated between these systems and a reference database will be available with clear rules for database administrators and users.
With regard to potential non-sampling errors, when collecting information from the respondent it was important to plan for several controls: (i) immediately during the interview by the enumerator; (ii) after the interview during the review of the completed questionnaire by the field supervisor and before data entry; and (iii) during data entry. For instance, ranges for data on the monetary value of household expenditures were set, such as minimum and maximum acceptable prices for a given quantity of each major food and non-food item (based on independently obtained data of market prices). The appropriate ranges were verified during questionnaire pre-testing, and flagged during manual and automatic data editing. Thus strong literacy skills and qualifications in calculations and statistics were used as a basis for the selection of field enumerators and supervisors, as well as data entry operators (skills generally verified during the recruitment processes by means of written examinations).