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. Round 3 surveys were conducted from March 2005 to February 2006 in the same countries, plus Benin and Madagascar. Round 4 surveys were conducted during 2008 and 2009 in 20 countries, reflecting the addition of Burkina Faso and Liberia.
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. Round 2 (2002-2004) surveyed citizens in 16 countries. Round 3 (2005-2006) 18 countries. The survey covered 20 countries in Round 4 (2008-2009).
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Version 01: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Round 4 merged dataset, it comprises of survey datasets from 20 countries.
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 perfomance 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 Round 4 Afrobarometer surveys have national coverage for the following countries: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Cabo Verde, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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.
What to do about areas experiencing political unrest? On the one hand we want to include them because they are politically important. On the other hand, we want to avoid stretching out the fieldwork over many months while we wait for the situation to settle down. It was agreed at the 2002 Cape Town Planning Workshop that it is difficult to come up with a general rule that will fit all imaginable circumstances. We will therefore make judgments on a case-by-case basis on whether or not to proceed with fieldwork or to exclude or substitute areas of conflict. National Partners are requested to consult Core Partners on any major delays, exclusions or substitutions of this sort.
Producers and sponsors
Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA)
Michigan State University (MSU)
Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
The African Development Bank
Funded the study
Michigan State University
Funded the study
The National Science Foundation, US
Funded the study
The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Funded the study
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
Funded the study
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.
For some national surveys, data are weighted to correct for over or under-sampling or for household size. "Withinwt" should be turned on for all national -level descriptive statistics in countries that contain this weighting variable. It is included as the last variable in the data set, with details described in the codebook. For merged data sets, "Combinwt" should be turned on for cross-national comparisons of descriptive statistics. Note: this weighting variable standardizes each national sample as if it were equal in size.
Note that for some surveys data is weighted to correct for either deliberate (e.g., to provide an adequate sample of specific sub-groups for analytical purposes) or inadvertent over- or under-sampling of particular sample strata. In these cases, a weighting variable is included as the last variable in the data set, with details described in the codebook. These weighting factors should be used when calculating all national-level statistics.
Certain questions in the questionnaires for the Afrobarometer 4 survey addressed country-specific issues, but many of the same questions were asked
across surveys. Citizens of the 20 countries were asked questions about their economic and social situations, and their opinions were elicited on recent political and economic changes within their country.
Dates of Data Collection
Mode of data collection
Teams of four interviewers traveled together to the field under the leadership of a field supervisor. It was the supervisor's job to ensure quality control of survey returns on a daily basis.Interviews usually took about one hour and only proceeded after respondents have given informed consent. Strict confidentiality was required in handling survey returns.
Data Collection Notes
Interviewers, usually holding a first degree in social science, were trained in a five-day training workshop immediately prior to fieldwork. Interviews usually took about one hour and only proceeded after respondents have given informed consent. Strict confidentiality was required in handling survey returns.
Interviews are conducted in the following languages:
Afrobarometer data are protected by copyright. Authors of any published work based on Afrobarometer data or papers are required to acknowledge the source, including, where applicable, citations to data sets posted on this website. Please acknowledge the copyright holders in all publications resulting from its use by means of bibliographic citation in this form:
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.
For general inquiries
For general inquiries
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Development Data Group
The World Bank
Metadata adapted for Microdata Library
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
DDI Document - Version 02 - (04/27/21)
This version is identical to DDI_AFR_2008_AFB-MR4_v01_M but country field has been updated to capture all the countries covered by survey.
Version 01 (February 2021). The study metadata has been adopted from same study published on DataFirst website.