Dataset Registration Rationale

The DHS Program datasets are publicly available and can be downloaded free of charge for research purposes. Why, then, do you need to register?

  • To ensure that The DHS Program meets host-country agreements. One of the guiding principles of The DHS Program is the recognition that the host country of each DHS Program survey is the owner of the resulting data. In keeping with this principle, The DHS Program has agreements with host-country governments that allow the Program to keep the resulting data in the DHS data repository. The repository ensures that all DHS Program datasets are maintained in one place and enables comparative analysis over time for a single country and/or across countries. Agreements with host-country governments include commitments that The DHS Program will ensure that the data are used by real people with legitimate purposes. For example, many countries do not allow DHS data to be used for non-research (i.e. commercial purposes). To abide by this commitment, The DHS Program asks for users to register for data access. 
  • Contact with users. The Program occasionally needs to contact dataset users. This is most commonly done in order to issue dataset corrections that are identified after dissemination. 
  • Added protections for sensitive HIV and GIS data. Because there are additional ethical concerns for sharing HIV prevalence data and GPS coordinates, users requesting HIV or GIS data are required to sign a digital consent that acknowledges the terms of use. This is an added measure to protect the anonymity of survey respondents.


Other information of note:

  • The information you provide us is never shared with anyone outside of The DHS Program or USAID. Read more in our privacy policy.
  • If you are looking for a generic dataset to use for learning/teaching purposes, please download our open access model datasets.
  • If you need help accessing DHS datasets, please review our Using DHS Datasets for Analysis YouTube tutorial videos.
  • For questions or comments about obtaining data, please contact

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