November 1995 - Number 2

IFLS Data to Be Released December 1995

The end of 1995 brings an addition to the FLS family of databases: the Indonesian Family Life Survey public release database. The IFLS data will be available from both the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and from RAND.

What Is the IFLS?

The Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) is a household survey and community-facility survey conducted in Indonesia in 1993 by Lembaga Demografi of the University of Indonesia and RAND. The IFLS was conducted in 13 provinces that encompass approximately 83 percent of the Indonesian population and reflect its heterogeneity. The Household Survey, which interviewed 7,224 households, focuses on four broad topics:

  • fertility, family planning, and contraception;
  • infant and child health and survival;
  • migration, education, and employment; and
  • the health, economic, and social functioning of the older population.

The Community-Facility Survey obtained data from the village leaders and the heads of the village women's groups in the 321 enumeration areas from which IFLS households were drawn. Additionally, for each enumeration area, the Community-Facility Survey collected data from about 20 schools and health facilities serving residents of the community.

Several features of the IFLS make it different from many surveys of Indonesia and of other developing countries. First, like the Malaysian Family Life Surveys (MFLS), the IFLS is a multipurpose survey containing a broad array of demographic, health, and economic information on individuals, households, and communities.

Second, like the MFLS, the IFLS collects retrospective as well as current information for most topics. The longer recall periods for many life events allow researchers to study the evolution of government programs and household decisionmaking during a period of rapid demographic and economic change.

Third, the IFLS is especially well-suited for studies of the health and well-being of the older population. Like the MFLS, the survey covers several dimensions of well-being, such as health, economic status, and family support networks including interhousehold transfers of time and money. Building on research experience in the United States and Indonesia, the survey included indices of health and functional status. Data are available for adults of all ages. Many households contain adults of two generations, facilitating intergenerational comparisons.

Finally, the survey design makes explicit the links among individuals, households, and communities by collecting detailed data at all three levels. The linking of individual, family, and community data enables researchers to analyze the role of community characteristics in family behavior. Furthermore, because government policies and programs operate at the community level, detailed community data linked to individual and household data facilitates understanding the effects of policy on family decisionmaking.

More details on the IFLS, including descriptions of the survey questionnaires and sampling procedures, are presented in the section below, More on the IFLS Data. The IFLS database is available from both ICPSR and from RAND. Details on how to order the IFLS (and other FLS public release data) from RAND are provided at the end of this newsletter.