The Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) is part of the worldwide Demographic and Health Surveys program, which is designed to collect data on fertility, family planning, and maternal and child health.
The BDHS is intended to serve as a source of population and health data for policymakers and the research community. In general, the objectives of the BDHS are to:
- assess the overall demographic situation in Bangladesh,
- assist in the evaluation of the population and health programs in Bangladesh, and
- advance survey methodology.
More specifically, the objective of the BDHS is to provide up-to-date information on fertility and childhood mortality levels; nuptiality; fertility preferences; awareness, approval, and use of family planning methods; breastfeeding practices; nutrition levels; and maternal and child health. This information is intended to assist policymakers and administrators in evaluating and designing programs and strategies for improving health and family planning services in the country.
Kind of data
Sample survey data
Unit of analysis
- Children under five years
- Women age 10-49
- Men age 15-59
Producers and sponsors
Mitra & Associates/ NIPORT
Macro International Inc.
United State Agency for International Development, Bangladesh
Bangladesh is divided into six administrative divisions, 64 districts (zillas), and 490 thanas. In rural areas, thanas are divided into unions and then mauzas, a land administrative unit. Urban areas are divided into wards and then mahallas. The 1996-97 BDHS employed a nationally-representative, two-stage sample that was selected from the Integrated Multi-Purpose Master Sample (IMPS) maintained by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Each division was stratified into three groups: 1 ) statistical metropolitan areas (SMAs), 2) municipalities (other urban areas), and 3) rural areas. 3 In the rural areas, the primary sampling unit was the mauza, while in urban areas, it was the mahalla. Because the primary sampling units in the IMPS were selected with probability proportional to size from the 1991 Census frame, the units for the BDHS were sub-selected from the IMPS with equal probability so as to retain the overall probability proportional to size. A total of 316 primary sampling units were utilized for the BDHS (30 in SMAs, 42 in municipalities, and 244 in rural areas). In order to highlight changes in survey indicators over time, the 1996-97 BDHS utilized the same sample points (though not necessarily the same households) that were selected for the 1993-94 BDHS, except for 12 additional sample points in the new division of Sylhet. Fieldwork in three sample points was not possible (one in Dhaka Cantonment and two in the Chittagong Hill Tracts), so a total of 313 points were covered.
Since one objective of the BDHS is to provide separate estimates for each division as well as for urban and rural areas separately, it was necessary to increase the sampling rate for Barisal and Sylhet Divisions and for municipalities relative to the other divisions, SMAs and rural areas. Thus, the BDHS sample is not self-weighting and weighting factors have been applied to the data in this report.
Mitra and Associates conducted a household listing operation in all the sample points from 15 September to 15 December 1996. A systematic sample of 9,099 households was then selected from these lists. Every second household was selected for the men's survey, meaning that, in addition to interviewing all ever-married women age 10-49, interviewers also interviewed all currently married men age 15-59. It was expected that the sample would yield interviews with approximately 10,000 ever-married women age 10-49 and 3,000 currently married men age 15-59.
Note: See detailed in APPENDIX A of the survey report.
A total of 9,099 households were selected for the sample, of which 8,682 were successfully interviewed. The shortfall is primarily due to dwellings that were vacant or in which the inhabitants had left for an extended period at the time they were visited by the interviewing teams. Of the 8,762 households occupied, 99 percent were successfully interviewed. In these households, 9,335 women were identified as eligible for the individual interview (i.e., ever-married and age 10-49) and interviews were completed for 9,127 or 98 percent of them. In the half of the households that were selected for inclusion in the men's survey, 3,611 eligible ever-married men age 15-59 were identified, of whom 3,346 or 93 percent were interviewed.
The principal reason for non-response among eligible women and men was the failure to find them at home despite repeated visits to the household. The refusal rate was low.
Note: See summarized response rates by residence (urban/rural) in Table 1.1 of the survey report.
Dates of collection
Mode of data collection
Four types of questionnaires were used for the BDHS: a Household Questionnaire, a Women's Questionnaire, a Men' s Questionnaire and a Community Questionnaire. The contents of these questionnaires were based on the DHS Model A Questionnaire, which is designed for use in countries with relatively high levels of contraceptive use. These model questionnaires were adapted for use in Bangladesh during a series of meetings with a small Technical Task Force that consisted of representatives from NIPORT, Mitra and Associates, USAID/Bangladesh, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Population Council/Dhaka, and Macro International Inc (see Appendix D for a list of members). Draft questionnaires were then circulated to other interested groups and were reviewed by the BDHS Technical Review Committee (see Appendix D for list of members). The questionnaires were developed in English and then translated into and printed in Bangla (see Appendix E for final version in English).
The Household Questionnaire was used to list all the usual members and visitors in the selected households. Some basic information was collected on the characteristics of each person listed, including his/her age, sex, education, and relationship to the head of the household. The main purpose of the Household Questionnaire was to identify women and men who were eligible for the individual interview. In addition, information was collected about the dwelling itself, such as the source of water, type of toilet facilities, materials used to construct the house, and ownership of various consumer goods.
The Women's Questionnaire was used to collect information from ever-married women age 10-49.
These women were asked questions on the following topics:
- Background characteristics (age, education, religion, etc.),
- Reproductive history,
- Knowledge and use of family planning methods,
- Antenatal and delivery care,
- Breastfeeding and weaning practices,
- Vaccinations and health of children under age five,
- Fertility preferences,
- Husband's background and respondent's work,
- Knowledge of AIDS,
- Height and weight of children under age five and their mothers.
The Men's Questionnaire was used to interview currently married men age 15-59. It was similar to that for women except that it omitted the sections on reproductive history, antenatal and delivery care, breastfeeding, vaccinations, and height and weight. The Community Questionnaire was completed for each sample point and included questions about the existence in the community of income-generating activities and other development organizations and the availability of health and family planning services.
All questionnaires for the BDHS were returned to Dhaka for data processing at Mitra and Associates. The processing operation consisted of office editing, coding of open-ended questions, data entry, and editing inconsistencies found by the computer programs. The data were processed on 5 microcomputers working in double shifts. The DHS data entry and editing programs were written in ISSA (Integrated System for Survey Analysis). Data processing commenced in mid-November 1996 and was completed by mid-April 1997.
The estimates from a sample survey are affected by two types of errors: (1) non-sampling errors, and (2) sampling errors. Non-sampling errors are the results of mistakes made in implementing data collection and data processing, such as failure to locate and interview the correct household, misunderstanding of the questions on the part of either the interviewer or the respondent, and data entry errors. Although numerous efforts were made during the implementation of the BDHS to minimize this type of error, non-sampling errors are impossible to avoid and difficult to evaluate statistically.
Sampling errors, on the other hand, can be evaluated statistically. The sample of respondents selected in the BDHS is only one of many samples that could have been selected from the same population, using the same design and expected size. Each of these samples would yield results that differ somewhat from the results of the actual sample selected. Sampling errors are a measure of the variability between all possible samples. Although the degree of variability is not known exactly, it can be estimated from the survey results.
A sampling error is usually measured in terms of the standard error for a particular statistic (mean, percentage, etc.), which is the square root of the variance. The standard error can be used to calculate confidence intervals within which the true value for the population can reasonably be assumed to fall. For example, for any given statistic calculated from a sample survey, the value of that statistic will fall within a range of plus or minus two times the standard error of that statistic in 95 percent of all possible samples of identical size and design.
If the sample of respondents had been selected as a simple random sample, it would have been possible to use straightforward formulas for calculating sampling errors. However, the BDHS sample is the result of a two-stage stratified design, and, consequently, it was necessary to use more complex formulae. The computer software used to calculate sampling errors for the BDHS is the ISSA Sampling Error Module. This module used the Taylor linearization method of variance estimation for survey estimates that are means or proportions. The Jackknife repeated replication method is used for variance estimation of more complex statistics such as fertility and mortality rates.
Note: See detailed estimate of sampling error calculation in APPENDIX B of the survey report.
Other forms of data appraisal
Data Quality Tables
- Household age distribution
- Age distribution of eligible and interviewed women
- Completeness of reporting
- Births by calendar years
- Reporting of age at death in days
- Reporting of age at death in months
Note: See detailed tables in APPENDIX C of the survey report.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Bangladesh National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), Mitra and Associates, and Macro International Inc.. Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 1996-97. Dataset downloaded from www.measuredhs.com on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.