Survey indicators are important for a variety of reasons. They provide decision-makers, program planners and policy makers in participating countries, with crucial information for informed policy choices. They serve as baselines and are important for setting goals and targets for the future.
DHS surveys provide information on important health, nutrition, and demographic indicators in a specific country. DHS surveys are nationally representative population-based surveys with large sample sizes. The indicators are presented in terms of national level statistics and for population subgroups such as those defined by age, education, marital status, economic status, urban/rural residence and region of the country. For additional information on DHS Indicators, see the Guide to DHS Statistics (pdf) or the Online Guide to DHS Statistics.
Following is a listing of select Indicator categories. Click on the category title to view an overview of available indicators for that category.
Characteristics of Households
Background characteristics of the household population, and their dwelling conditions, as well as describing eligible respondents and indicators of women's status and their situation.
Data on fertility trends as well as on the beginning of a woman's childbearing, with tabulations on age at first birth and current teenage fertility behavior.
Data on fertility preferences, respondents' ideal number of children, and unmet need for contraception.
Other Proximate Determinants of Fertility
Data on marriage patterns, sexual activity, postpartum insusceptibility, and menopause.
Data on family planning, including knowledge of contraception, source of supply, acceptability, use, attitudes toward contraception, intention to use in the future, reasons for nonuse, informed choice, exposure to media messages about family planning, and a variety of related topics.
Early Childhood Mortality
Data on current and past levels of infant and child mortality as well as differentials in mortality by demographic and background characteristics. Also includes information on perinatal mortality and the extra risk incurred by certain reproductive behaviors.
Maternal and Child Health
Data on maternal care during pregnancy and delivery, and postnatal care, as well as general access to health services, use of tobacco products, exposure to injections and knowledge and attitudes concerning tuberculosis. Child health includes data on many aspects including birth weight and size, immunization, and the extent and prevalence and treatment of important childhood diseases (diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and fever).
Maternal and Child Nutrition
Data on nutritional concerns for children and for women including nutritional status, breastfeeding and complementary foods, food diversity, and micronutrients.
Data on the availability and use of mosquito nets by women and children and the prophylactic and treatment use of antimalarial drugs.
The HIV/AIDS Survey Indicators Database provides data on knowledge and behavior concerning HIV/AIDS and STIs and the use of condoms, as well as monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
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