COVID-19 High Frequency Phone Survey of Households, Malawi, 2020-2021 (ICPSR 38462)

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Malawi High-Frequency Phone Survey COVID-19 (HFPS COVID-19) was implemented by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on a monthly basis during the period of May 2020 and June 2021. The survey is part of a World Bank-supported global effort to support countries in their data collection efforts to monitor the impacts of COVID-19. The financing for data collection and technical assistance in support of the Malawi HFPS COVID-19 is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank.

World Bank. COVID-19 High Frequency Phone Survey of Households, Malawi, 2020-2021. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2022-06-27.

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United States Agency for International Development, World Bank Group

GPS coordinates

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2020-01-01 -- 2021-12-31
2020-10-29 -- 2020-11-16 (Round 5), 2021-02-23 -- 2021-03-15 (Round 8), 2021-04-07 -- 2021-04-23 (Round 9), 2021-04-29 -- 2021-05-14 (Round 10)
  1. Organization of Fieldwork

    The HFPS COVID-19 Baseline was administered between May 26 and June 14, 2020. Data were collected by trained NSO interviewers who individually made phone calls from the call center at the NSO. Since the country was not fully on lockdown during the preparation and data collection exercise, interviewers were allowed to be in the office after seeking permission from the local authorities and also taking measures to protect themselves like ensuring 2 meters space between individuals. Most interviews were conducted from the call center, some interviews that required call backs conducted from the enumerators' homes. Subsequent rounds also followed the same protocols. Dates on when each round was administered can be found in the Basic Information Document.

  2. Gift to Households

    As a show of appreciation for the households' participation, all households that gave consent to be interviewed were transferred 1000 Malawi Kwacha credit to their phones (even if their interviews are only partially completed).

  3. Pre-loaded Information

    Basic information on every household was pre-loaded in the CATI assignments for each interviewer. The information was pre-loaded to (1) assist interviewers in calling and identifying the household and (2) ensure that each pre-loaded person is properly addressed and easily matched to the most recent face-to-face visits. Basic household information (location, household head name, phone numbers of adult members and reference persons, etc.) was pre-loaded. The list of individuals from IHPS 2019 and their basic characteristics were uploaded.

  4. Respondents

    The HFPS COVID-19 had ONE RESPONDENT per household. The respondent was always the knowledgeable adult household member or for some rounds the person that was randomly selected. The respondent must be a member of the household.

  5. Additional information

    For additional information on the COVID-19 High Frequency Phone Survey of Households study, please visit the World Bank website.


The objective of HFPS COVID-19 is to monitor the socio-economic effects of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in real time. These data are intended to be used by the Malawian government and stakeholders to help design policies to mitigate the negative impacts on its population. The HFPS COVID-19 in Malawi is designed to accommodate the evolving nature of the crises, including revision of the questionnaire on a monthly basis.

The households were drawn from the sample of households interviewed in 2019 as part of the Integrated Household Panel Survey (IHPS 2019). The 2019 IHPS data are representative at the national and urban/rural-levels and phone survey weights were calculated (1) to counteract selection bias associated with not being able to call IHPS households without phone numbers, and (2) to mitigate against non-response bias associated with not being able to interview all target IHPS households with phone numbers.

The Malawi Integrated Household Panel Survey (IHPS) conducted in 2019 served as the frame for the HFPS-COVID-19. This sample of households is representative nationally as well as by the urban/rural divide. In every visit of the IHPS, phone numbers are collected from interviewed households for all household members and 3 reference persons who are in close contact with the household in order to assist in locating and interviewing households who may have moved in subsequent waves of the survey. This comprehensive set of phone numbers as well as the already well-established relationship between NSO and the IHPS households made this an ideal frame from which to conduct the COVID-19 monitoring survey in Malawi. Among the 3,181 households interviewed during the IHPS in 2019, 2,337 (73%) provided at least one phone number. Around 85 percent of these households provided a phone number for at least one household member while the remaining 15 percent only provided a phone number for a reference person. Households with only the phone number of a reference person were expected to be more difficult to reach but were nonetheless included in the frame and deemed eligible for selection for the HFPS COVID-19. To obtain a nationally representative sample for the HFPS-COVID-19, the survey aimed to recontact the entire sample of households that had been interviewed during the Integrated Household Panel Survey (IHPS) 2019 round and that had phone numbers for at least one household member or a reference individual. Interviewers attempted to contact all 2,337 households that had either a contact for a household member or reference person in the baseline round of the phone survey.

Longitudinal: Panel

Households in Malawi that are representative nationally, as well as by the country's urban/rural divide.

Individual, Household

Each month, the households were asked a set of core questions on the key channels through which individuals and households were expected to be affected by COVID-19-related restrictions. Food security, employment, access to basic services, coping strategies, and non-labor sources of income were channels thought likely to be impacted. The core questionnaire was complemented by questions on selected topics that rotated each month.




To obtain unbiased estimates from the sample, the information reported by households needs to be adjusted by a sampling weight (or raising factor) W_H.

To construct the sampling weights, the following steps outlined in Weight Calculations for Panel Surveys with Subsampling and Split-off Tracking by Himelein, K. (2014) were considered. Himelein, K. (2014) outlines eight steps, of which six were followed to construct the sampling weights for the HFPS-HH:

1. Begin with base weights from the Malawi Integrated Household Panel Survey (IHPS) 2019 for each household.

2. Incorporate probability of sub-selection of round 1 unit for each of the phone survey households.

3. Pool the weights in Steps 1 and 2.

4. Derive attrition-adjusted weights for all individuals by running a logistic response propensity model based on characteristics of the household head (i.e. gender, primary language spoken, education, labor force status) and characteristics of the household (household size, food consumption score, assets, financial characteristics).

5. Trim weights by replacing the top three percent of observations with the 98th percentile cut-off point; and

6. Post-stratify weights to known population totals to correct for the imbalances across our sample.

In doing so, it is ensured that the distribution in the survey matches the distribution in the IHPS.



  • 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.