At r.i.c.e. we use a variety of data sources and datasets to pursue our research in demography, economics, and health in developing countries. The Demographic and Health Surveys, conducted with support from USAID, provide the data for the bulk of our research papers. Examples of papers that we have published using DHS Data are Dean’s papers on sanitation and height, Diane paper on anemia and sanitation, and Aashish’s paper on violence against women in India. If you want to compile summary statistics from the DHS, try to play with the great online tool STATcompiler, and if you know statistical packages such as STATA, you can register yourself at the DHS website and download these datasets to work on. You can also download India specific summary reports, as well as reports on Indian states here. NFHS-4, the next round of the DHS in India, is currently underway, and when it comes out, it will end a decade-long drought on data on nutrition and height in India.
Another dataset that we use often is the India Human Development Survey, available online here. Avinash’s and Dean’s paper on women’s status and cooking fuel use, Dean and Sneha’s paper on Sanitation and Cognitive skills, and Dean’s paper on Height and Cognitive Achievement among Indian children are some examples of papers based on the IHDS that r.i.c.e has worked on. We are eagerly waiting for the final dataset of the IHDS-2, which we are told, is being readied for release soon.
Apart from these two sources, we often work on administrative data, such as those relating to toilets or the national rural employment guarantee act. We have also worked on the periodic data that the National Sample Survey Organisation collects (see reports and how to access data here). For instance, John Papp’s short paper on NREGA leakages compared administrative data from the NREGA website with employment data from the NSS.
Finally, we work with Indian Census data. Data from the Census, particularly from the 2011 census, is available from the census website. To collect older data, you would have to visit the Data Dissemination Unit of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.