Afrobarometer collects and disseminates information regarding Africans’ views on democracy, governance, economic reform, civil society, and quality of life. Round 1 surveys were conducted between 1999 and 2001. At that time, the project covered seven countries in Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), three countries in West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria and Mali) and two in East Africa (Uganda and Tanzania). Round 2 surveys were completed by November 2003 with four new countries added: Kenya, Senegal, Cape Verde and Mozambique.
The Afrobarometer is a comparative series of public attitude surveys that assess African citizen's attitudes to democracy and governance, markets, and civil society, among other topics. The surveys have been undertaken at periodic intervals since 1999. The Afrobarometer's coverage has increased over time. Round 1 (1999-2001) initially covered 7 countries and was later extended to 12 countries. The survey covered 16 countries in Round 2 (2002-2004).
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Version 01: Edited, anonymized dataset for public distribution
Each Afrobarometer survey collects data about individual attitudes and behavior, including innovative indicators especially relevant to developing societies. This includes the following topics:
• Democracy - Popular understanding of, support for, and satisfaction with democracy, as well as any desire to return to, or experiment with, authoritarian alternatives.
• Governance - The demand for, and satisfaction with, effective, accountable and clean government; judgments of overall governance performance and social service delivery.
• Livelihoods - How do African families survive? What variety of formal and informal means do they use to gain access to food, shelter, water, health, employment and money?
• Macro-economics and markets - Citizen understandings of market principles and market reforms and their assessments of economic conditions and government performance at economic management.
• Social capital - Whom do people trust? To what extent do they rely on informal networks and associations? What are their evaluations of the trustworthiness of various institutions?
• Conflict and crime - How safe do people feel? What has been their experience with crime and violence?
• Participation - The extent to which ordinary people join in development efforts, comply with the laws of the land, vote in elections, contact elected representatives, and engage in protest. The quality of electoral representation.
• National identity - How do people see themselves in relation to ethnic and class identities? Does a shared sense of national identity exist?
conflict, security and peace [4.1]
domestic political issues [4.2]
government, political systems and organisations [4.4]
mass political behaviour, attitudes/opinion [4.6]
political ideology [4.7]
business/industrial management and organisation [2.2]
mass media [7.4]
social exclusion [12.9]
cultural activities and participation [13.2]
cultural and national identity [13.3]
religion and values [13.5]
social behaviour and attitudes [13.6]
social change [13.7]
social conditions and indicators [13.8]
The sample universe for Afrobarometer surveys includes all citizens of voting age within the country. In other words, we exclude anyone who is not a citizen and anyone who has not attained this age (usually 18 years) on the day of the survey. Also excluded are areas determined to be either inaccessible or not relevant to the study, such as those experiencing armed conflict or natural disasters, as well as national parks and game reserves. As a matter of practice, we have also excluded people living in institutionalized settings, such as students in dormitories and persons in prisons or nursing homes.
Producers and sponsors
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA)
Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
Michigan State University (MSU)
Department for International Development
Swedish Internation Development Cooperation Agency
United States Agency for International Development
World Bank Group
Afrobarometer uses national probability samples designed to meet the following criteria. Samples are designed to generate a sample that is a representative cross-section of all citizens of voting age in a given country. The goal is to give every adult citizen an equal and known chance of being selected for an interview. They achieve this by:
- using random selection methods at every stage of sampling;
- sampling at all stages with probability proportionate to population size wherever possible to ensure that larger (i.e., more populated) geographic units have a proportionally greater probability of being chosen into the sample.
The sampling universe normally includes all citizens age 18 and older. As a standard practice, we exclude people living in institutionalized settings, such as students in dormitories, patients in hospitals, and persons in prisons or nursing homes. Occasionally, we must also exclude people living in areas determined to be inaccessible due to conflict or insecurity. Any such exclusion is noted in the technical information report (TIR) that accompanies each data set.
Sample size and design
Samples usually include either 1,200 or 2,400 cases. A randomly selected sample of n=1200 cases allows inferences to national adult populations with a margin of sampling error of no more than +/-2.8% with a confidence level of 95 percent. With a sample size of n=2400, the margin of error decreases to +/-2.0% at 95 percent confidence level.
The sample design is a clustered, stratified, multi-stage, area probability sample. Specifically, we first stratify the sample according to the main sub-national unit of government (state, province, region, etc.) and by urban or rural location.
Area stratification reduces the likelihood that distinctive ethnic or language groups are left out of the sample. Afrobarometer occasionally purposely oversamples certain populations that are politically significant within a country to ensure that the size of the sub-sample is large enough to be analysed. Any oversamples is noted in the TIR.
Samples are drawn in either four or five stages:
Stage 1: In rural areas only, the first stage is to draw secondary sampling units (SSUs). SSUs are not used in urban areas, and in some countries, they are not used in rural areas. See the TIR that accompanies each data set for specific details on the sample in any given country.
Stage 2: We randomly select primary sampling units (PSU).
Stage 3: We then randomly select sampling start points.
Stage 4: Interviewers then randomly select households.
Stage 5: Within the household, the interviewer randomly selects an individual respondent. Each interviewer alternates in each household between interviewing a man and interviewing a woman to ensure gender balance in the sample.
To keep the costs and logistics of fieldwork within manageable limits, eight interviews are clustered within each selected PSU.
In Rounds 1 through 3, the Afrobarometer did only minimal weighting of data to correct for over- or under-samples of certain populations, usually based on region or urban-rural location.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
For general inquiries
For general inquiries
Public use files, available to all
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 country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Afrobarometer Data, [Country(ies)], [Round(s)], [Year(s)], available at http://www.afrobarometer.org.
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.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
World Bank Group
Documentation of the survey
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (April 2021)