The First and Second Malaysian Family Life Surveys

The First and Second Malaysian Family Life Surveys (MFLS-1 and MFLS-2) comprise a pair of surveys with partially overlapping samples, designed by RAND and administered in Peninsular Malaysia in 1976-1977 (MFLS-1) and 1988-1989 (MFLS-2). Survey Research Malaysia, Sdn. Bhd. carried out the fieldwork for MFLS-1 and the National Population and Family Development Board of Malaysia carried out the fieldwork for MFLS-2. Each survey collected detailed current and retrospective information on family structure, fertility, economic status, education/training, transfers, migration, and many other topics. Each survey also collected community-level data.

The MFLS-1 sample consists of 1,262 households with an ever-married woman located in 52 communities that were selected to be representative of Peninsular Malaysia in 1976. MFLS-2 reinterviewed 926 of those MFLS-1 households (the "Panel" sample) and a subset of adult children from those original households (the "Children" sample). MFLS-2 also interviewed a new sample of 2,184 women age 18-49, regardless of marital status (the "New" sample), as well as a sample of 1,357 older Malaysians, age 50 and above (the "Senior" sample--the first representative sample of the older population in Peninsular Malaysia). The New and Senior data were drawn from 398 communities representative of Peninsular Malaysia in 1988. The MFLS data were described in the first FLS Newsletter (February 1994). Information on public release distribution and whom to contact if you have questions about the MFLS data are presented at the end of that newsletter.

The data from MFLS-1 and MFLS-2 have been widely used by researchers in Malaysia and throughout the world. Many of the innovative features of these surveys have been emulated in surveys conducted by the World Bank, the Demographic and Health Surveys program, and others. MFLS-1 and MFLS-2 have been the source of data for over 200 journal articles, papers, and book chapters and 50 theses and dissertations. More detailed information on the surveys is is provided in the MFLS-1 documentation and MFLS-2 documentation. An MFLS bibliography, covering MFLS-1 and MFLS-2, is also available.

Updates to the MFLS-1 and MFLS-2 data may also be found at this website. Please review these updates when you access the data.

Please note: MFLS-1 and MFLS-2 are no longer actively supported. Please review the documentation and the data along with your programming code to resolve questions and problems. Questions sent to may not be responded to in a timely fashion.