Global Data Lab

Institute for Management Research
Radboud University

GDL Area Database (2.8.0)

Free Sub-National Development Indicators

106 indicators, 117 countries, 1140 sub-national regions
28.5 million persons, 6.3 million households
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The GDL Area Database Website contains indicators at the national and sub-national level for low and middle income countries (LMICs) that were created by aggregating data from household survey datasets.

These datasets were obtained from the producing organizations for research by GDL-connected researchers. The aggregated indicators in the GDL Area Database can be seen as outcomes of this research. Making them available through our website is one of our ways of publishing research results. Another way is through scientific publications.

Data Sources

Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)

DHS are large representative household surveys that provide data for a wide range of monitoring and impact evaluation indicators in the areas of population, health, and nutrition. Standard DHS Surveys have large sample sizes (usually between 5,000 and 30,000 households). Each survey consists of a household interview, in which basic information is collected on all household members, and separate women’s and men’s surveys. In the women’s survey, all usual resident women aged 15 to 49 are invited for an oral interview. The men’s surveys are generally smaller and show more variation across countries. In the interviews, information is obtained on socioeconomic, demographic, and (reproductive) health related issues. Since the 1980s over 300 DHS surveys have been held in all regions of the developing world. For most countries, several surveys have been held in different years, allowing comparisons over time. Producer of the DHS datasets is ICF International and major sponsor of the programme is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Further information is available at

In the GDL Area database currently data from 194 DHS surveys for 70 countries are used:

Angola (2011), Armenia (2000,2010), Azerbaijan (2006), Burundi (2010), Benin (1996,2001,2006,2011), Burkina Faso (1998,2003,2010), Bangladesh (1996,2004,2007,2011), Bolivia (1998,2003,2008), Brazil (1996), Central African Republic (1994), Cote d'Ivoire (1994, 1999,2005,2011), Cameroon (1998,2004,2011), Congo Democratic Republic (2007,2013), Congo Brazzaville (2005,2011), Colombia (1995,2000,2005,2010), Comoros (1996,2012), Dominican Republic (1996,2002,2007,2013), Egypt (1995,2000,2005,2008,2014), Ethiopia (2000,2005,2011), Gabon (2000,2012), Ghana (1998,2003,2008,2014), Guinea (2005,2012), Gambia (2013), Guatemala (1995,1999), Guyana (2009), Honduras (2005,2011), Haiti (1994, 2000,2005,2012), Indonesia (1997,2003,2007,2012), India (1992,1999,2006), Jordan (2002, 2007,2012), Kazakhstan (1995,1999), Kenya (1993,1998,2003,2008,2014), Kyrgyzstan (1997,2012), Cambodia (2000,2005,2010,2014), Liberia (2007,2013), Lesotho (2004,2010), Morocco (1992,2003), Moldova (2005), Madagascar (1992,1997,2004,2009), Maldives (2009), Mali (1995,2001,2006,2013), Mozambique (1997,2003,2011), Malawi (1992,2000,2004,2010), Namibia (1992,2000,2006,2013), Niger (1998,2006,2012), Nigeria (1999,2003,2008,2013), Nicaragua (1998,2001), Nepal (1996,2001,2006,2011), Pakistan (1991,2007,2012), Peru (1996,2000,2004,2006,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012), Philippines (1998,2003,2008,2013), Rwanda (1992, 2000,2005,2010), Senegal (1992,1997,2005,2011,2012), Sierra Leone (2008,2013), Sao Tome & Principe (2009), Swaziland (2006), Chad (1997,2004), Togo (1998,2014), Tajikistan (2012), Timor Leste (2009), Turkey (1993,1998,2003,2008), Tanzania (1992,1996,1999,2004, 2010), Uganda (1995,2001,2006,2011), Ukraine (2007), Uzbekistan (1996), Vietnam (1997,2002), Yemen (1991,2013), South Africa (1998), Zambia (1996,2002,2007,2014), Zimbabwe (1994,1999,2006,2011).

UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS)

UNICEF supports countries to collect data on the situation of children and women through the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) programme. The MICS was originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals. Since the initiation of the programme, several rounds of surveys have been carried out and close to 300 MICS have been carried out in more than 100 countries, generating data on key indicators on the well-being of children and women, and helping shape policies for the improvement of their lives. MICS has been a major source of data on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators and will continue to be a major data source during the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to measure Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators. Further information is available at

In the GDL Area database currently data from 49 MICS surveys for 40 countries are used:

Afghanistan (2010), Angola (2000), Argentina (2011), Azerbaijan (2000), Burundi (2005), Belize (2006), Buthan (2010), Central African Republic (2006,2010), Congo Democratic Republic (2010), Costa Rica (2011), Cuba (2011), Georgia (2005), Ghana (2006,2011), Gambia (2000, 2006), Guinea Bissau (2006), Iraq (2006), Jamaica (2005), Kazakhstan (2006), Kyrgyzstan (2006), Lao (2012), Mongolia (2005,2010), Mauritania (2007,2011), Panama (2013), Sudan (2000,2010), Somalia (2006), Sao Tome & Principe (2000), Suriname (2010), Swaziland (2000,2010), Syria (2006), Chad (2010), Togo (2006), Thailand (2006), Tajikistan (2000,2005), Turkmenistan (2006), Tunisia (2011), Uruguay (2013), Uzbekistan (2005), Vietnam (2006,2010), Vanuatu (2007), Yemen (2006).

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) International

IPUMS-International is an effort of the Minnesota Population center of the University of Minneapolis to inventory, preserve, harmonize, and disseminate census microdata from around the world. The project has collected the world's largest archive of publicly available census samples. The data are coded and documented consistently across countries and over time to facilitate comparative research. IPUMS-International makes these data available to qualified researchers free of charge through a web dissemination system. The IPUMS project is a collaboration of the Minnesota Population Center, National Statistical Offices, and international data archives. Major funding is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Additional support is provided by the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research, the Minnesota Population Center, and Sun Microsystems.

In the GDL Area database currently data from 9 IPUMS for 7 countries are used:

Brazil (2000,2010), Chili (2002), Iran (2006), Mexico (2000,2010), South Sudan (2008), Sudan (2008), Venezuela (2001). These data were derived from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, International: Version 6.3 [Machine-readable database].

Afrobarometer Surveys

Afrobarometer is an African-led, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa and are repeated on a regular cycle. Each of the barometers is implemented independently. In each country, a national research team administers a country-wide face-to-face survey using standardized survey instruments to compile the required micro-level data under a common research framework and research methodology. Core donors for Afrobarometer Rounds 5 and 6 include: The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Department for International Development (DFID), UK and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Supplemental funding is provided by: The World Bank, Institute for Security Studies (South Africa), United States Institute of Peace, Transparency International and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Further information is available at ([].

In the GDL Area Database currently data from 6 Afrobarometer surveys for 3 countries are used: Botswana (2012,2014), Cape Verde (2012,2014), Mauritius (2012,2014). Because the samples are relatively small, the data for 2012 and 2014 for these countries were combined.

The Pan Arab Project for Family Health (PAPFAM)

The Pan Arab Project for Family Health is a data collection programme in Arab Countries that is rather similar to the Demographic and Health Surveys and MICS programmes. PAPFAM surveys are mostly funded by the Leage of Arab States. Further information is available at

In the GDL Area Database currently data from the Algerian (2002) PAPFAM survey is used.

Other data sources

For China 2002, data from the Chinese Household Income Project is used. The purpose of this project was to measure and estimate the distribution of personal income and related economic factors in both rural and urban areas of the People's Republic of China. Data were collected through a series of questionnaire-based interviews conducted in rural and urban areas at the end of 2002.

For China 2011, data from the Chinese Household Finance Survey is used. This survey was conducted by the Research Center for China Household Finance, a non-profit institute for academic inquiry, based at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE). The China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) contains detailed information about household finance and assets, including housing, business assets, financial assets, and other household assets, plus information about income and expenditures and social and commercial insurance.

For South Africa 2014, data from the South African General Household Survey (GHS) are used. The GHS is an annual household survey conducted by Stats SA since 2002. The GHS is an omnibus household based instrument aimed at determining the progress of development in the country. It measures, on a regular basis, the performance of programmes as well as the quality of service delivery in a number of key service sectors in the country. The GHS covers six broad areas, namely education, health and social development, housing, household access to services and facilities, food security, and agriculture.

National Indicators

The national population figures used to compute the area population sizes are derived from the World Development Indicators of the World Bank.


The Global Data Lab and its connected researchers are grateful to the abovementioned organizations for their efforts to collect and process high-quality data and to make this data freely available to researchers worldwide. We are also greatly indebted to all survey respondents who were prepared to deliver the invaluable information about themselves and their living situation that made it possible to create the development indicators presented here.