Facts about Adolescents from the Demographic and Health Survey: Statistical Tables for Program Planning
The Population Council began its work on adolescents in the mid-1990s, and has emphasized the need to look beyond the health sector in addressing adolescents' needs, focusing on early marriage, livelihoods, schooling, and social structure. The Council has especially concerned itself with the adolescent girl, whose world contracts at this stage in her life, as limitations on her autonomy, mobility, opportunity, and power increase.
One challenge to moving beyond the health sector has been that comprehensive data on adolescents in developing countries have not been easily accessible nor compiled with this multisectoral view in mind. To fill this void, the Population Council began analyzing Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data in a way that could clearly illustrate the diversity of adolescents' lives. It is the Council's goal that these analyses be used to improve understanding about the adolescent experience and to build interventions based on fact rather than assumption. These analyses are presented in 46 individual country reports; each report consists of 14 data tables* and commentary highlighting some of the more noteworthy information.
Annexes: Selected DHS data on 10–14-year-olds
The period of early adolescence is one of both extreme vulnerability and enormous opportunity in the developing world and is deserving of special attention. Although early adolescence often is marked by energy, creativity, and resilience, it may also be the stage at which young adolescents are pulled out of school, start working, begin substance abuse (primarily alcohol and tobacco use), initiate sexual activity, and, in some regions, get married and start having children. It is vital to reach this age group when health behaviors and gender norms still are malleable.
There is a dearth of data on very young adolescents (VYAs)—those 10–14 years old—as adolescents ages 10–19 often are grouped together in statistical reporting, and 10–14-year-olds typically are excluded from reproductive health surveys. To learn more about the lives and needs of VYAs, Council researchers returned to the Demographic and Health Survey, focusing particularly on the presence of potentially protective structures (such as family and school) and access to media. Forty-nine country reports were presented and disseminated at the World Health Organization’s Technical Meeting on 10–14-year-olds, “Very Young Adolescents: The Hidden Young People,” held in April 2003. The reports are intended to complement the above-mentioned series, “Facts about adolescents from the Demographic and Health Survey,” and are best considered in conjunction with those reports to view young adolescents’ experiences in context.
Both French and English versions are available for West African countries where noted. The Council will produce updated reports as new data become available. The reports are available in PDF format. If you would like copies sent to you, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* List of table titles
Table 1 Urban–rural residence and population distribution
Table 2 Parental survival status and residence in household
Table 3 Characteristics of head of household
Table 4 Educational enrollment and attainment
Table 5 Educational enrollment and attainment in urban areas
Table 6 Educational enrollment and attainment in rural areas
Table 7 Educational enrollment in urban and rural areas: Comparison summary
Table 8 Marital status
Table 9 Sexuality and childbearing
Table 10 Educational enrollment and work status
Table 11 Awareness and use of modern contraceptive methods
Table 12 Awareness of HIV/AIDS
Table 13 Experience with sexually transmitted diseases
Table 14 Female genital circumcision
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