Can DHS Household Files Be Used to Provide an Accurate Estimate of the Market Share and Age Structure of Large Religious Groups?

Andrew Gully, Pew Research Center
Noble Kuriakose, Pew Research Center

In developing countries that do not ask a census question about religion, the highest quality survey with data about religion is often a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). While most information collected in DHS surveys pertains to women and men of reproductive age, many DHS surveys provide a household member recode file that includes information on the age and sex of all household members, including children and the elderly, as well as the religion of the household head. When the religion of the household head is attributed to all members of the household, we can generate a full age structure for religious groups. However, religious diversity within the household could introduce error into this procedure. In this paper we evaluate different methods for estimating religious composition from DHS files and compare these results with external data sources.

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Presented in Poster Session 3