Matlab [Bangladesh] Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS), 1996 (ICPSR 2705)

Version Date: Jul 20, 2020 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Omar Rahman, Independent University, Bangladesh; Jane Menken, University of Colorado; Andrew Foster, Brown University; Paul Gertler, University of California, Berkeley

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  • V6 [2020-07-20]
  • V5 [2005-11-04] unpublished
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The Matlab Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS) was carried out in 1996 to examine health status, health care utilization, social network characteristics, and the impact of community services and infrastructure with respect to adults and elderly persons residing in the Matlab region of rural Bangladesh.

The MHSS Household questionnaire was administered to three separate samples: (1) The Main Household Data (MHD) sample (Parts 1-84), which was the primary sample, consisted of 4,364 households clustered in 2,687 baris, or residential compounds; (2) The Determinants of Natural Fertility Survey (DNSF) sample (Parts 85-167) was made up of follow-up groups of 1,789 households of 2,441 women who were interviewed about their health and pregnancy status in the mid-1970s; (3) The Outmigrant (MIG) sample (Parts 168-250) consisted of 552 persons who had left and not returned to the original household of the primary (MHD) sample between 1982 and 1996, the start of the MHSS.

The Household questionnaire elicited information on demographic characteristics of respondents such as gender, age, marital status, information on non-coresident spouses, religion, education, main occupational activity, and housing structure, including size, materials, availability of electricity, home ownership, and rent. Questions were also posed regarding household economy and an inventory of household consumption was taken, including the value of foods purchased and self-produced in the last week, purchases of personal care and household items during the last month, and purchases of durable goods in the last year. Respondents were also asked about the location of their health care providers and the travel time and travel cost to see them. Retrospective life histories were gathered from women regarding children ever born, pregnancy outcomes and infant feeding, and contraceptive knowledge and use, along with information about menarche and menopause. In addition, detailed pregnancy histories from women aged 50 years and older were collected. Information regarding children under age 15 was gathered by proxy regarding the child's educational history, morbidity, medications, and inpatient and outpatient care utilization. Results of physical performance and cognitive ability tests as well as anthropometric measures were recorded.

The Community/Provider questionnaire (Parts 251-412) collected data on community infrastructure and services from 141 villages of the primary (MHD) sample respondents, along with detailed information about 254 health/family planning providers and 100 educational facilities. Questions on the Community questionnaire covered availability of facilities, public transportation, characteristics of roads, price of fuel, water sources and sanitation, agriculture and industry, credit institutions, migration, and historical events. Health providers from Thana health complexes (THCs) and family welfare centers (FWCs), village doctors, pharmacists, traditional healers, and trained/traditional birth attendants were asked about their education and training, services/activities, equipment and supplies, and medicines, along with the historical development of the facility. Also collected were direct observations from interviewers regarding the cleanliness of the examination rooms, laboratories, and vaccine storage rooms. In addition, hypothetical patient vignettes were presented in which providers were tested as to their knowledge of processes. Information also was obtained from primary and secondary schools on characteristics such as date of establishment, school hours, administration and religious orientation, admission fees, tuition, number of students and teachers, building attributes, whether particular facilities (gymnasium, library) were available at the school, and whether the school was used by other institutions.

Part 418, Additional Household and Individual Weights for Primary (MHD) Sample, contains additional weights for the primary sample.

Rahman, Omar, Menken, Jane, Foster, Andrew, and Gertler, Paul. Matlab [Bangladesh] Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS), 1996. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-07-20.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (P01AG11952)

Per agreement with RAND, the data and documentation may be used for academic and public policy research purposes only.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1996-04 -- 1997-01
  1. The logical record length data and data definition statements were extracted from SAS transport files provided by RAND.

  2. The primary (MHD) sample contains information from 174 households that were outside the sampling scheme and should be dropped from analyses. Users should delete all records with STATUS greater than 2.

  3. Files within each sample may be linked using variables described in the user's guide. Households in the Outmigrant sample may be linked to their originating households in the primary (MHD) sample, as described in the documentation.


The MHSS aims to address the following areas of concern to the rural adults and the elderly: the effect of socio-economic and behavioral factors on adult and elderly health status, and health care utilization; the linkages between adult/elderly well-being, social and kin network characteristics and resource flows; and the impact of community services and infrastructure on adult/elderly health and other human capital acquisition.

(1) The primary (MHD) sample consists of 4,364 households within 2,687 baris (residential compounds). (2) The Determinants of Natural Fertility Survey (DNFS) sample is made up of 1,790 households of 2,441 women who had been interviewed about their health and pregnancy status in the mid-1970s. The available data on 1,806 DNFS women in these 1,790 households represents approximately an 80-percent sample of the surviving 2,273 DNFS women. (3) The Outmigrant (MIG) sample consists of 552 persons who had left the households of the primary sample between 1982 and the date of the MHSS (1996) and had not returned to their original households or baris. This represents approximately an 8-percent sample of migrants who had left since 1982. (4) The Community/Provider Survey sample is comprised of 141 villages of the primary (MHD) sample respondents and includes 254 health and 100 educational facilities. This constitutes a near-census of schools and health and family planning clinics serving the study area and a sample of individual health/family planning providers.

(1) All households within the Matlab region of rural Bangladesh. (2) Households of women who had been interviewed regarding their health and pregnancy status during the 1970s as part of the Determinants of Natural Fertility Survey. (3) People who had left households of the primary (MHD) sample between 1982 and the date of the MHSS and who had not returned. (4) Health and education providers rom 141 villages in the Matlab area.

personal interviews and clinical tests



2020-07-20 All datasets were replaced after the principal investigator resupplied the data, removing the variables LH10 and MIGRID2. R data frames, delimited TSV files, and ICPSR codebooks were added to parts 1 through 412 and part 418. Documentation for linking records across MHD and MIG data was added.

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:
  • Rahman, Omar, Jane Menken, Andrew Foster, and Paul Gertler. Matlab [Bangladesh] Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS), 1996. ICPSR02705-v6. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-07-20.

2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

2001-07-06 Parts 1, 33, and 40 and their corresponding data definition statements have been replaced by ICPSR after a problem with column locations in the data definition statements was noted.

2001-01-25 Parts 56 (MHD: Book 3 -- Adult Information, Transfers), 140 (DNFS: Book 3 -- Adult Information, Transfers), and 223 (MIG: Book 3 -- Adult Information, Transfers) have been replaced after additional data cleaning by the principal investigator.



  • 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.

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This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR), a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).