Chitwan Valley Family Study: Changing Social Contexts and Family Formation, Nepal, 1995-2017 (ICPSR 4538)

Version Date: Jun 22, 2021 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
William G. Axinn, University of Michigan; Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan; Jennifer S. Barber, University of Michigan; Thomas E. (Thomas Earl) Fricke, University of Michigan; Stephen Matthews, Pennsylvania State University; Dharma Dangol, Institute for Social and Environmental Research - Nepal; Lisa Pearce, University of Michigan; Jordan W. Smoller, Massachusetts General Hospital


Version V17 ()

  • V17 [2021-06-22]
  • V16 [2021-03-29] unpublished
  • V15 [2021-03-25] unpublished
  • V14 [2021-03-22] unpublished
  • V13 [2019-12-23] unpublished
  • V12 [2019-12-18] unpublished
  • V11 [2018-06-25] unpublished
  • V10 [2018-06-13] unpublished
  • V9 [2018-05-10] unpublished
  • V8 [2014-10-01] unpublished

The Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) is a comprehensive family panel study of individuals, households, and communities in the Chitwan Valley of Nepal. The study was initially designed to investigate the influence of changing community and household contexts on population outcomes such as marital and childbearing processes. Over time, the goals of the study expanded to investigate family dynamics, intergenerational influences, child health, migration, labor force participation, attitudes and beliefs, mental health, agricultural production, environmental change, and many other topics. The data include full life histories for more than 10,000 individuals, tracking and interviews with all migrants, continuous measurement of community change, over 25 years of demographic event registry, and many other data collections. For additional information regarding the Chitwan Valley Family Study, please visit the Chitwan Valley Family Study Website.


The Stata files for datasets 7, 15, 16, 18, 32, 34, 35, and 38 were produced in Stata 13. Users of earlier versions of Stata will not be able to read them.

There are a few options for users of Stata 12 or earlier to work around the compatibility issue:

- Upgrade to Stata 13

- Find a computer with Stata 13 and use the 'saveold' command to create a Version 12 file

- Use the latest version of a file conversion utility, such as Stat/Transfer (older versions cannot read Stata 13 files)

Axinn, William G., Ghimire, Dirgha J., Barber, Jennifer S., Fricke, Thomas E. (Thomas Earl), Matthews, Stephen, Dangol, Dharma, … Smoller, Jordan W. Chitwan Valley Family Study: Changing Social Contexts and Family Formation, Nepal, 1995-2017. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2021-06-22.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD32912), United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation


This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited.

To protect respondent privacy, some of the data files in this collection are restricted from general dissemination. To obtain these restricted files, researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of a Restricted Data Use Agreement.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1995 -- 2017
1995 -- 2017
  1. This data collection combines new data with two previously released datasets: CHITWAN VALLEY [NEPAL] FAMILY STUDY, 1996-1997 (ICPSR 3059) and HOUSEHOLD AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMPTION SURVEY, 1996 [CHITWAN VALLEY, NEPAL] (ICPSR 3392). These two datasets are no longer available individually.

  2. Dataset 29, 1996 and 2008 Panel Data Combination, Restricted-Use is a combination of variables from datasets 27 and 12.

  3. Datasets 30 and 31 share additional GIS shapefiles. See the Guide to the Western Chitwan ArcGIS Map Document for more information on these shapefiles and how to use them with the datasets.

  4. Some Principal Investigators and PI affiliations have changed from a previous release of this study. Please note that some documentation covers reflect the outdated information. For correct PIs and affiliations, please refer to the study home page.

  5. For additional information regarding the Chitwan Valley Family Study, please visit the Chitwan Valley Family Study Website.

The study was designed to investigate the influence of changing social contexts on family formation behaviors, marriage, childbearing, and contraceptive use. The research investigates the extent to which changes in the community produce changes in family formation behavior, and whether the family organization of individual life courses produces these changes in behavior.

The study used a combination of ethnographic and survey research methods to gather 171 neighborhood histories, 142 school histories, 118 health service histories, 20 bus route histories, household farming practices, family planning histories, and household composition in Western Chitwan, Nepal.

Neighborhoods were chosen as the sampling units. The sample is stratified into three distance strata. Stratum 1 includes only areas near the urban center, city of Narayanghat. Stratum 3 includes only areas far from Narayanghat and Stratum 2 includes the areas at the middle, between Stratum 1 and Stratum 3. The sample is two stage. Stage 1 is a sample of settlements selected using 1991 census data as a sampling frame. The settlement ranged from 15 to 1,000 households. Measure of size was the number of female residents in the settlement. Stage 1 sampling yielded a systematic sample of 10 settlements in each stratum, for a total of 30 settlements. Stage 2 was the actual sample of Toles, or neighborhoods. Stage 2 sampling units are neighborhoods which are defined as clusters of approximately 5 to 15 households in close proximity to one another.

Residents of the western Chitwan Valley in south central Nepal and their spouses, 15-59 years of age.


personal interviews

Personal histories were gathered from the 5,271 individuals ages 15-59 years living in these neighborhoods using a semi-structured Life History Calendar and a highly structured survey questionnaire. The sample neighborhoods for this study were chosen to represent the five major ethnic groups inhabiting the area: high caste Hindus, hill Tibeto-Burmese (such as Gurung, Tamang, and Magar), indigenous terai Tibeto-Burmese (such as Tharu, Darai, and Kumal), Newar, and other caste Hindus. Neighborhood history calendars measured the neighborhood's distance, in terms of minutes walking, to a variety of organizations and services. Schools were defined as places of instruction for children of any age or grade. Health clinics were defined as any places of care and healing, such as doctors' offices, hospitals, and health posts. Employers were any places that employed 10 or more people for pay. Cinemas were movie theaters or halls where movies were shown. Bus stops were any places where people could obtain a ride for pay on a vehicle.



2021-06-22 Updated the codebooks and questionnaires for the datasets 33, 36, 37, 40, and 41 to correct minor errors and format the documents to current ICPSR standards.

2021-03-29 Broken links in codebooks for Parts 34, 35, and 38 were fixed.

2021-03-25 Parts 34 and 35 were updated to incorporate value labels and variable groups. Additionally, online analysis capabilities were added for both parts.

2021-03-22 Part 38 was updated to incorporate value labels, variable groups, and to replace RESPID with a scrambled version of this variable provided by the P.I. Additionally, online analysis capabilities were added for Part 38.

2019-12-23 2019-12-23 The codebook for Part 39 was updated to correct the title to indicate that these data are restricted-use.

2019-12-18 The principal investigators added 9 additional datasets to the collection, parts 33-41. Part 38 is a public-use version of part 39 resulting in 8 unique parts added for this update. The study range was changed to 1995 - 2017 in the title and the metadata. Other minor edits were made to the metadata.

2018-06-25 Part 28 was updated to revise document covers.

2018-06-13 Part 28 was updated to correct the title to indicate that this file is restricted-use. Documentation was also updated to reflect the correct title.

2018-05-10 Collection was updated to add online analysis capabilities.

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Axinn, William G., Dirgha J. Ghimire, Jennifer S. Barber, Thomas E. (Thomas Earl) Fricke, Stephen Matthews, Dharma Dangol, Lisa Pearce, and Jordan W. Smoller. Chitwan Valley Family Study: Changing Social Contexts and Family Formation, Nepal, 1995-2017. ICPSR04538-v17. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2021-06-22.

2014-10-01 Turning over PI-provided codebooks publicly for parts 7, 18, 32 as requested by PI.

2014-08-25 Adding additional documentation (codebooks) to be released publicly.

2014-08-25 Part 7 has additional months of data. For Part 18, variables T2A19a-T2A19o have been added. For Part 15, one of the respondent's codes for Spouse 2 should be "4". The same change was made for Part 16. Part 32 contains forest calendar data.

2012-11-14 Minor edits made to the metadata.

2012-11-14 Documentation files were added for public release.

2011-09-06 Files missing from the previous update are now available.

2011-09-01 The principal investigators submitted 3 new datasets, parts 29, 30, and 31. Part 29 is a combined dataset of 1996 and 2008 Panel Data.

2010-10-22 The principal investigators submitted updates of the Household Registry at 126 months restricted and public-use data. Also, parts 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, and 24 are being updated. Additionally, it has been discovered that previously parts 21 and 25 are the same. Therefore, a duplicate part has been removed, making 26 parts instead of 27.

2010-07-23 The principal investigators submitted additional datasets, Parts 24-27, as well as updated Parts 15-17 and 18-23.

2009-05-20 Principal investigators re-submitted an updated Part 14 dataset

2009-05-13 New data for Part 13 were submitted by the principal investigators to correct the sample size.

2007-08-02 The User Agreement has been updated by adding the complete list of restricted data files available under the agreement.

2007-01-18 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.