Download Datasets

The DHS Program is authorized to distribute, at no cost, unrestricted survey data files for legitimate academic research. Registration is required for access to data.

Guide to Using Datasets
Access Instructions

Request Dataset Access

The following applies to DHS, MIS, AIS and SPA survey datasets (Surveys, GPS, and HIV).

To request dataset access, you must first be a registered user of the website. You must then create a new research project request. The request must include a project title and a description of the analysis you propose to perform with the data.

The requested data should only be used for the purpose of the research or study. To request the same or different data for another purpose, a new research project request should be submitted. The DHS Program will normally review all data requests within 24 – 48 hours (Monday - Friday), and provide notification if access has been granted or additional project information is needed, before access can be granted.

See Step-by-Step Instructions

Dataset Access Approval Process

Access to DHS, MIS, AIS and SPA survey datasets (Surveys, HIV, and GPS) is requested and granted by country. This means that when approved, full access is granted to all unrestricted survey datasets for that country. Access to HIV and GIS datasets requires an online acknowledgment of the conditions of use.

Required Information
Dataset requests must include contact information, a research project title, and a description of the analysis you propose to perform with the data.

Restricted Datasets
A few datasets are restricted and these are noted on the request form. Access to restricted datasets is requested online as with other datasets. Permission to access restricted datasets must be submitted after registration - the instructions are provided during the registration process. When The DHS Program receives authorization to release restricted data, the user will be contacted, and the datasets made available by secure FTP.

GPS/HIV Datasets/Other Biomarkers
Because of the sensitive nature of GPS, HIV and other biomarkers datasets, permission to access these datasets requires that you accept a Terms of Use Statement. After selecting GPS/HIV/Other Biomarkers datasets, the user is presented with a consent form which should be signed electronically by entering the password for the user's account.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Requesting Online Dataset Access

You must be a registered user to access and download datasets.

STEP 1A - If you are a new user, requesting data access, register for an account:

  • Enter User Information: Email address, password, Name, Institution, Country of Residence and Phone no
  • Create New Project: Project Title, Co-researcher(s) and Description of your study
  • Select “Region”, to request datasets for your project
  • Select countries for Survey Datasets
  • If you are interested in GPS, HIV or SPA data, click on the corresponding hyperlink(s) at the top of the table
  • Select “yes” to confirm that you need GPS, HIV or SPA data
  • If requesting GPS or HIV, accept the “Conditions of Use” statement, and enter “justification” for accessing these data
  • Submit Dataset Request
  • You will be notified by email when access has been granted, usually within 24 – 48 hours.

STEP 1B – If you are an existing user, requesting additional countries/datasets, log in to your account:

  • Select the project to which you’d like to add countries or datasets
  • Click on the hyperlink: Request additional countries/datasets for this project
  • Follow Steps 3 – 9 in STEP1A above

STEP 1C – If you are an existing user, creating a New Project,  log in to your account:

  • Click on the hyperlink: Create a New Project
  • Click on the hyperlink: Request additional countries/datasets for this project
  • Follow Steps 2 – 9 in STEP1A above

Dataset Terms of Use

Once downloaded, the datasets must not be passed on to other researchers without the written consent of The DHS Program. All reports and publications based on the requested data must be sent to The DHS Program Data Archive in a Portable Document Format (pdf).

Download Datasets

Datasets are made available for download by survey. You will be presented with a list of surveys for which you have been granted dataset access. After selecting a survey, a list of all available datasets for that survey will be displayed, including all survey, GPS, and HIV data files. However, only data types for which you have been granted access will be accessible. 

Compressed ZIP Files

All datasets are distributed as compressed zip files.

The files can be extracted from the zip file using Windows File Explorer on later versions of the operating system, or using file compression software such as WinZip, 7-Zip or PKUNZIP. A free evaluation version of WinZip can be downloaded by going to http://www.winzip.com and clicking on Download Evaluation Version.  After extraction, you will be presented with several files depending on the data type and file format downloaded.

See more information on the distribution files  

Step-by-Step Instructions for Downloading Datasets by Survey

  • Log In
  • Select the project that contains the approved country/countries you wish to download.
  • To download datasets by Survey, select a country from the drop down list
  • You are presented with a list of all available surveys for the country you selected
  • Click on the “Download” hyperlink for the dataset you wish to download
  • You are now presented with a list of all datasets available for this survey, and for which you were approved
  • OPTION 1: Select an individual file by clicking on the file name's hyperlink, then browse to a folder on your computer to save the file.
  • OPTION 2 Select multiple files by clicking the check boxes, on the left of the file names, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button: "Process Selected Files For Download". After the MESSAGE: “processing files….. Please wait” disappears, click on the link: "Click here to download the files you selected in one zipped file".  Browse to a folder on your computer to save the file.
  • OPTION 3 Select "by file format type": Stata/Flat/SAS/SPSS/Hierarchical. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button: "Process Selected Files For Download". After the MESSAGE: “processing files….. Please wait” disappears, click on the link: "Click here to download the files you selected in one zipped file". Browse to a folder on your computer to save the file.
  • Unzip the datasets.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Downloading Datasets for Multiple Surveys

If you are downloading a large number of datasets for multiple countries/surveys please use the Download Manager. This eliminates the need to download survey by survey. There are various download managers available for all the major browsers. See DHS UserForum for more information.

  • Log In
  • Select the project that contains the approved country/countries you wish to download.
  • Click on the “Download Manager” button
  • You are presented with a list of your approved countries and datasets
  • Make your selections, and click on the “Build URL List” button
  • Use your download manager to download the files in your list
  • Unzip the datasets