IFPRI is committed to providing open-access datasets that help to improve how policy options are understood, discussed, and implemented. The Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS) dataset is a significant contribution to the knowledge base of agriculture, food security, nutrition, poverty, and empowerment.
About the dataset
To date, BIHS is the most comprehensive, nationally representative household survey ever conducted in Bangladesh. The first round took place in 2011/12, and the second round in 2015. The survey was administered to the same sample of households in both rounds, creating a panel dataset. By tracking households over a period of time, BIHS has uncovered some of the underlying dynamics of poverty, food security, and agricultural development in Bangladesh.
In the second round, BIHS added some new modules, such as long-term recall on participation in education-incentive programs, as well as some new questions, such as respondents’ age at marriage. The data collected about marriage age led to compelling findings on the changing landscape of child marriage in Bangladesh (see "An End in Sight for Early Marriage in Bangladesh?").
The BIHS dataset is representative at various levels: across all of rural Bangladesh; throughout all seven of the country’s administrative divisions (Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Sylhet); and at USAID-supported Feed the Future zone of influence in southern Bangladesh. In the first round, the BIHS collected data across 6,500 households. Attrition between 2011/12 and 2015 was exceptionally low, at just 1.26 percent per year.
BIHS deployed two survey instruments: 1) gender-disaggregated household questionnaires, designed to collect individual- and household-level information from both the primary male and female respondents, who were interviewed separately; and 2) a community questionnaire to provide information on area-specific contextual factors.
The Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey was designed to go beyond business as usual. “Data alone do not add value. It is the way that surveys are designed that adds value,” explains Akhter Ahmed, IFPRI’s country representative in Bangladesh. Ahmed led the BIHS survey design, and has designed many other large, complex evaluation studies in Bangladesh. To add value, Ahmed knew that BIHS must respond to knowledge gaps.
In addition to consulting the Bangladesh government’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) to collect data on a comparable set of variables, BIHS is the only nationally representative survey in Bangladesh that collects detailed data on the following:
- plot-level agricultural production and practices,
- dietary intake of individual household members,
- anthropometric measurements (height and weight) of all household members (not just women of child-bearing age and children under-five), and
- data to measure women’s empowerment via the women’s empowerment in agriculture index (WEAI).
Success of the BIHS dataset
IFPRI’s BIHS dataset has emerged as a global public good. The BIHS first-round results were widely consulted across six continents, with diverse users ranging from program specialists to graduate students. The BIHS is well-documented, accessible in user-friendly formats, published quickly online, and available at no cost. “Since the [BIHS] first round enjoyed such broad acclaim, we are enthusiastic for even more uptake of the 2015 and panel dataset,” Akhter Ahmed shares.
The BIHS 2011/12 and 2015 panel dataset is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), designed by the Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program (PRSSP) implemented by IFPRI, and administered by Data Analysis and Technical Assistance (DATA).
Where to find the datasets
Akhter Ahmed is the IFPRI Country Representative in Bangladesh, Chief of Party of the Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program, and a Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI's Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division. Salauddin Tauseef is a Research Analyst and Julie Ghostlaw is a Program Coordinator in the Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program. This post first appeared on the IFPRI Bangladesh Country Office site.