This is the fourth Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) conducted in Albania. The first LSMS survey was conducted in 2002, the second in 2003, and the third in 2003.
Over the past decade, Albania has been seeking to develop the framework for a market economy and more open society. It has faced severe internal and external challenges in the interim - extremely low income levels and a lack of basic infrastructure, the rapid collapse of output and inflation rise after the shift in regime in 1991, the turmoil during the 1997 pyramid crisis, and the social and economic shocks accompanying the 1999 Kosovo crisis. In the face of these challenges, Albania has made notable progress in creating conditions conducive to growth and poverty reduction. In the process leading to its first Poverty Reduction Strategy (that is the National Strategy for Socioeconomic Development, now renamed the National Strategy for Development and Integration), the Government of Albania reinforced its commitment to strengthening its own capacity to collect and analyse on a regular basis the information it needs to inform policy-making. Multi-purpose household surveys are one of the main sources of information to determine living conditions and measure the poverty situation of a country. They provide an indispensable tool to assist policy-makers in monitoring and targeting social programs. In its first phase (2001-2006), this monitoring system included the following data collection instruments:
(i) Population and Housing Census
(ii) Living Standards Measurement Surveys every 3 years
(iii) Annual panel surveys.
The Population and Housing Census (PHC) conducted in April 2001, provided the country with a much needed updated sampling frame which is one of the building blocks for the household survey structure. The focus during this first phase of the monitoring system is on a periodic LSMS (in 2002 and 2005), followed by panel surveys on a subsample of LSMS households (in 2003, and 2004), drawing heavily on the 2001 census information. A poverty profile based on 2002 data showed that some 25 percent of the population are poor, with many others vulnerable to poverty due to their incomes being close to the poverty threshold. Income related poverty is compounded by poor access to basic infrastructure (regular supply of electricity, clean water), education and health services, housing, etc. The 2005 LSMS was in the field between May and early July, with an additional visit to agricultural households in October 2005. The survey work was undertaken by the Living Standards unit of INSTAT, with the technical assistance of the World Bank.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The contents of the 2005 Albania LSMS were:
(a) HOUSEHOLD QUESTIONNAIRE
Non-farm business Ownership
Transfers and social assistance
Social capital Groups and networks
(b) COMMUNITY QUESTIONNAIRE
Basic characteristics of the community
Access to public services
Community safety Drug abuse, crimes
Albanian Development Fund
Problems related to the environment
Credit Sources of credit (formal and informal)
Information & Communication Technologies
Access to Finance
Migration & Remittances
Population & Reproductive Health
Food (production, crisis)
Agriculture & Rural Development
Community Driven Development
Producers and sponsors
Institute of Statistics of Albania
The World Bank
The Republic of Albania is divided geographically into 12 Prefectures (Prefekturat). The latter are divided into Districts (Rrethet) which are, in turn, divided into Cities (Qyteti) and Communes (Komunat). The Communes contain all the rural villages and the very small cities. For census purposes, the cities and the villages have been divided into enumeration areas (EAs).
1. SAMPLING FRAME
The Enumeration Areas (EA) that make up the sampling frame come from the April 2001 General Census of Population and Housing. The EAs in the frame are classified by Prefecture, District, City or Commune. The frame also contains, for every EA, the number of Housing Units (HU), the number of occupied HUs, the number of unoccupied HUs, the number of households, and the population. We are using occupied dwellings and not total number of dwellings since many EAs contain a large number of empty dwellings. A detailed study of the list of censuses EAs shows that many have zero population. In order to obtain EAs with the minimum of 50 and the maximum of 120 occupied housing units, the EAs with zero population have been taken off the sampling frame. Since the sizes of the EAs varied from 0 to 395 HUs, the smaller EAs (with less than 50 HU) have been collapsed with geographically adjacent ones and the largest EAs (with more than 120 HU) have been split into two or more EAs. Subsequently, maps identifying the boundaries of every split and collapsed EA were prepared. Given that the 2002 LSMS has been conducted less than a year after the April 2001 census, a listing operation to update the sample EAs was not conducted in the field. However, since the level of construction is very high in the city of Tirana and its suburbs, a quick count of the 75 sample EAs selected in Tirana was carried out followed by a listing operation. The check of the listing based on the Census data revealed two types of discrepancies: - HUs had become invalid, i.e. vacant, non-residential, demolished, seasonally occupied, etc. - Instead of one small building (with one or two HU), a new one with 15 HUs was identified. During of the listing update process, HUs identified as invalid were taken off the frame. In the case of a new building, these new HUs were entered with a new sequential code. The listing sheets prepared during the listing operation in Tirana, become the sampling frame for the final stage of selection of 12 HU which has to be interviewed. The unit of analysis and the unit of observation is the household. The universe under study consists of all the households in the Republic of Albania. We have used the Housing Unit (defined as the space occupied by one household) as the sampling unit, instead of the household, because the HU is more permanent and easier to identify in the field.
2. SAMPLE SIZE
In the LSMS, the sample size is 450 EA and in each EA 8 households were selected. The total sample size of the LSMS is 3600 households. In addition, since a certain level of nonresponse is expected, 4 reserve units were selected in each sample EA. 3. Stratification The sampling frame has been divided in three regions (strata) 1. Coastal Area 2. Central Area 3. Mountain Area and Tirana (urban and other urban) is consider as a separate stratum. The first three strata were divided into major cities (the most important cities in the region), other urban (the rest of cities in the region), and rural. In each more importance was given to the major cities and rural areas. We have selected 10 EA for each major city and 65 EAs (75 EAs for Mountain Area) for each region. In the city of Tirana and its suburbs, implicit stratification was used to improve the efficiency of the sample design. 4. Procedure for the Selection of Housing Units A fixed number of valid dwelling units (12) was selected systematically and with equal probability from the Listing Form pertaining to Tirana and from the Census forms for the other areas. Once the 12 HUs were selected, 4 of them were chosen at random and kept as reserve units. The selected HUs were numbered within the EA and identified with a circle around the number in the listing form, as well as a circle on the maps.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The coding for the survey made use of ISCO 88 and NACE codes for occupations and industry activities respectively, and of COICOP codes for the food item recorded in the 14 day diary. Data Entry Operations Data entry for all the survey instruments was performed using custom made applications developed in CS-Pro. Data entry for the household questionnaire was performed in a decentralized fashion in parallel with the enumeration, so as to allow for 'real-time' checking of the data collected. This allowed a further tier of quality control checks on the data. Where errors in the data were spotted during data entry, it was possible to instruct enumerators and supervisors to correct the information, if necessary, revisiting the household, when the teams were still in the field. A further round of checks was performed by the core team in Tirana and the Bank staff, in Washington, DC as the data were gathered from the field and the entire dataset started building up. All but two of the 16 teams in the districts had one DEO, the Fier and Kukes team had two, and there were five DEOs for Tirana. Each DEO in the districts worked with a laptop computer, and was given office space in the regional Statistics Offices, or in INSTAT headquarters for the Tirana teams. The DEOs received Part 1 of the household questionnaire from the supervisor once the supervisor had checked the enumerator's work, within a few days of the enumeration in the field.
2. Data entry
The DEO then entered the questionnaire on the custom program, noting from the error messages of the program where there were errors or omissions. These errors were then to be detailed on the appropriate page of the questionnaire so that the enumerator could correct them when they returned for the second visit to the household. Once the DE of 8 questionnaires for a PSU was completed for Part 1, the questionnaires were returned to the supervisor who gave them to the enumerator for administering Part 2 in the field. After Part 2 was completed, and the errors or omissions noted from Part 1, the enumerator turned the questionnaires back to the supervisor, who in turn gave them to the DE operator for entering Part 2. If there were errors found in Part 2, the supervisor was then told and they either solved the problem or sent the enumerator back to the household. The data entry of the household questionnaires was completed by July 2005 and the data was all delivered to Tirana by the teams. The data entry of the food booklets was done on a separate data-entry program by DEOs in Tirana. The data entry was completed on 15 August. The questionnaires were all brought to Tirana and stored in INSTAT headquarters. The data entry for the price questionnaires took place in July 2005. The data entry for the community and agriculture questionnaires took place in November.
Besides the checks built-in in the DE program and those performed on the preliminary versions of the dataset as it was building up, and additional round of in depth checks on the household questionnaire and the food diary was performed in November in Tirana. Wherever possible data entry errors or inconsistencies in the dataset were spotted, the original questionnaires or diary were retrieved, and the information contained therein checked.
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