Human Development Index-like Small Area Estimates for Africa Computed from IPUMS-International Integrated Census Microdata

Iñaki Permanyer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Robert McCaa, University of Minnesota

This paper analyzes 24 African census samples from 13 countries available via the African Integrated Census MicroData website ( to illustrate how microdata may be used to assess development and pinpoint basic human needs at local administrative levels over time. We calculate a Human Development Index-like measure for small administrative areas, where much of the responsibility lies for executing policies related to health, education and general well-being. The methodological proposals introduced in this paper are particularly pertinent for the case of Africa. While data for much of Africa is not appropriate for economic growth rates or per capita income estimates, the analysis in this paper demonstrates that they are good enough for many other purposes. Indeed, a major aggravating problem that contributes to the ‘African statistical tragedy’ is the lack of accessibility to existing census microdata. This paper aims to illustrate the usefulness of census microdata and hopefully contribute to make them transparent and freely accessible.

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Presented in Session 189: Applications of Methods and Measurement in Population and Environment Research in Low and Middle Income Countries