Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004


The Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004 reports and analyses the living conditions in Iraq as they were approximately one year after the change of regime in the country, as a result of the 2003 war. This representative survey of 21,668 households is the first in recent years to cover all governorates in Iraq. The larger part of the survey took place in April and May 2004, while fieldwork in the governorates of Erbil and Dahouk was carried out in August 2004.

The results of the survey appear in three volumes: a Tabulation Report, which presents the main results of the survey in tabular form; an Analytical Report, and a Socio-Economic Atlas which depicts the situation in Iraq using maps and diagrams.

The Survey

The Living Conditions Survey, as employed in Iraq, is a tool for rapidly providing household-based statistical data for a country or a region, following standards accepted by the international community for statistical reporting. The survey is thus designed to provide, for example, data on the indicators developed to monitor and track progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, to the extent that this can be done through a household survey. Whereas most other rapid survey tools place a premium on timeliness at the expense of depth, this survey attempts to fuse rapidity with comprehensive coverage of the targeted indicators.

The Questionnaires

The questionnaires reflect the nature of the survey. Two questionnaires were used: one general questionnaire for each household, answered by the household head or a member of the household with knowledge of all members was the respondent; and one targeted questionnaire used to interview women of the household aged between 15 and 54 years. The first questionnaire dealt with housing and infrastructure, household economy, basic demography, and the education, health, and labour force characteristics of the household members; the second focused on the women's reproductive history and children's health.

Three versions of the questionnaires-one Arabic and two Kurdish-were used in the field.. Although the questionnaires were developed in English, they were translated twice-once into Arabic or Kurdish, then back again into English-in order to verify the translations and ensure that all members of the survey team had a common understanding.

Compared to many surveys, the questionnaires were quite long, with a median interviewing time of 83 minutes. Fifty percent of the interviews lasted between 60 and 105

The Sample

The sample of the survey is a comparatively standard two-stage cluster design. In the 15 southern governorates, the survey is based on the 1997 census of Iraq. For the three governorates of Erbil, Dahouk, and Sulaimaniya, where the 1997 census was not conducted, the sampling frames are based on lists of localities compiled by the local statistical offices. Regardless of the frame used, the first stage of the sample was selected with probability proportionate to the number of households in each unit (PPS). Each selected Primary Sampling Unit (PSU) was mapped, all households listed, and 10 households randomly selected in each PSU.

Due to population growth and migration, it is likely that the 1997 census does not accurately represent the population distribution of Iraq. The relisting of PSUs to some extent corrects this, but parts of the population are most likely not covered. In particular, recently displaced people who have moved to areas not covered by the census are likely to be missed by the survey. PSUs classified in the census as nomadic (0.09 percent of the population) were omitted from the frame. Although it is difficult to verify, the total omission due to frame imperfections is probably less than 20 percent, and most likely much less.

In each governorate, 1,100 households were selected for interview, with the exception of Baghdad, where 3,300 households were selected. The sample thus consisted of 22,000 households. Of these, 21,668 were actually interviewed.

The Fieldwork

COSIT staff were extensively trained in implementing the survey tool by researchers from the Fafo AIS. The first round of training took place in Amman, Jordan during the first three weeks of February 2003. Core staff from COSIT's offices in each governorate were present, in addition to administrative staff from the headquarters in Baghdad. Training of local staff was subsequently conducted at six locations within Iraq during the first two weeks of March 2003 by COSIT's core staff under supervision from Fafo.

Fieldwork started on March 22, 2004, and was completed by May 25, 2004. Data collection in the Governorates of Erbil and Dahouk were implemented and completed in August 2004.

After each selected PSU had been mapped and listed, interviewers were sent to the 10 selected households. Interviewers were organized in teams of five, with individual supervisors who continuously provided guidance and checked the quality of all incoming interviews. When necessary, interviewers were sent back to the households to reconfirm information. Furthermore, supervisors from COSIT's headquarters in Baghdad and Fafo staff also visited the interviewer teams.

Upon completion of the interviews, the information was sent to the governorate office for registration and inspection, then to the Baghdad main office for coding and data entry. During the data entry process, extensive quality control was implemented, and questionnaires were sent back to the field for re-interviewing or update both by COSIT's Baghdad office and by Fafo headquarters in Oslo.

Completed data files were continuously sent to Fafo's headquarters in Oslo, Norway, where further quality checks were implemented. In instances where problems arose, direct communication was made with COSIT. Several times during the fieldwork, COSIT arranged meetings with its offices' heads in order to inform them of problems that had surfaced and resolve them.

Although fieldwork occasionally had to be halted in particularly insecure locations, it generally continued throughout the entire

Areas Covered by the Survey

The purpose of the Living Conditions Survey is to portray the living conditions of the Iraqi population as captured by the survey during the spring and early summer of 2004, as well as to analyze and report on the major topics covered by the questionnaire. The method of a large-scale living condition survey provides information about the context which individuals live in, their stock of human and social capital, and their activities. A short outline of the areas covered is presented in the following.

Housing, Infrastructure, and Population

The survey examines housing conditions, the availability of infrastructure and services, and environmental issues. The survey first looks at the delivery of basic services such as electricity, water, and sanitation, emphasizing not only on households' access to networks but also on the quality and stability of supply.

The households' dwellings are then described with reference to the type, size, number of people in dwelling, and tenure arrangements, in order to provide information pertaining to the space in which individuals live in. Furthermore, damages to dwellings caused by acts of war or lack of maintenance are described and analysed in relation to households' plans and states of repair. The survey also describes individuals' satisfaction with different aspects of housing and the environment in close vicinity to the dwelling. The survey looks at households' access to social services, focusing mainly on health and education services. All analyses are done in relation to households' geographical place of residence and socio-economic status.

The survey describes and analyses the characteristics of the Iraqi population. The dynamics of any population can be described in terms of births, deaths, and migration, and these topics are dealt with in this chapter, paying specific regard to the population's age and gender structure. Particular emphasis is also given to the topic of infant and child mortality in Iraq. The demographic effects of war and strife are also discussed.

Health, Education, and the Role of Women

The Living Conditions Survey discusses the findings on nutritional status and child health. The analysis focuses on the different measurements of malnutrition and their distribution within the Iraqi population, with regard to both the geographical and socio-economic status of the household. The survey further looks at children's health and morbidity, describing the occurrence of diarrhea and acute respiratory infection and the means by which they are treated.

Findings on coverage of reproductive health services and birth history are also described. Emphasis is given to pregnancy care and birth delivery practices, such as place and attendance of health professionals at birth, prenatal care, postnatal care, and birth intervals.

The survey examines the general health situation of the Iraqi population and their access to health services. Findings on the prevalence of chronic illness, war-related causes of chronic illness, incidence of acute illness and injury are examined in relation to the use of health services.

The survey considers the supply, demand, and quality of education in Iraq. The supply of education encompasses physical infrastructure and public spending; demand is related to various aspects of enrolment; and the quality of education refers to how the system works internally. Special emphasis is given to enrolment levels and characteristics, as well as to the achieved education and literacy levels in the adult population. The geographic and socio-economic differentiation of educational achievements is considered.

The survey presents a gender analysis of the present living condition of Iraqi women, based on survey data from different arenas where gender is considered central for understanding women's overall situation. The main focus is on women's role in education and within the labour force; women's role in the family is chiefly discussed when data is presented on female heads of households. Because the security situation is a major obstacle to individual freedom in the women's everyday life, information about women and security is presented.

Household Economics: Work, Employment, and Income

The survey deals with labour force participation and employment. The analysis outlines some of the difficulties inherent in estimating employment and unemployment in an economy like Iraq's, and considers aspects of both visible and hidden underemployment. The distribution of occupation and industries in Iraq is also discussed.

The survey describes the result of work-specifically the income and wealth of households. Data collected on household income, the material possessions of households, and subjective measures of destitution and poverty are used to portray income patterns, which in turn leads to an analysis of inequality. The data obtained does not allow for a full-fledged poverty analysis, but insight into the characteristics of poverty in Iraq is gained through an analysis of how people perceive their situation.

For info, contact: Khalid M. Khalid, Programme Associate, UNDP Iraq

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