Publications Summary

Document Type
Occasional Papers
Publication Topic(s)
Recommended Citation
Way, Ann. 2014. Youth Data Collection In DHS Surveys: An Overview. DHS Occasional Papers No. 9. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
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Publication Date
August 2014
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International development assistance programs are placing increased emphasis on youth. As a result, there is growing demand for information about youth for use in programming initiatives. This paper reviews the contributions of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program to the data needs of youth programs worldwide and examines constraints and challenges to meeting the increased demand for youth data. The DHS Program collects information on three youth age groups (15-19, 20-24, and 25-29). Key measures focus on sexual and reproductive health (e.g., awareness of HIV and HIV prevention), education, and poverty. Many DHS surveys include a special module on young women’s experience of domestic violence. Expanding youth-focused data collection in DHS surveys would involve (1) adapting the age range in surveys to include respondents under age 15 (i.e., age 10-14) and/or (2) modifying the content of the DHS core questionnaire to accommodate additional questions relevant to youth. There are serious constraints and challenges to implementing either of these strategies. Interviewing youth age 10-14 in DHS surveys would require the integration of specialized, in-depth or qualitative data collection approaches with the program’s standard interview methodology. This would necessitate substantial changes to DHS samples and add to the existing burdens of staff during training and fieldwork. Adding more youth-relevant questions to the DHS core questionnaire would be more feasible but DHS interviews are already lengthy and the number of additional questions would be severely limited. DHS will continue seeking ways to meet the increasing need for quality data on youth.


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