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Description: A comprehensive, reliable data source specifically focused on the physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of older persons in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe). The MDS provides summary information for the population age 50-80+ on a variety of topics relating to aging.

Coverage: Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.


  • Population statistics (age structure, mean age, life expectancy with and without AIDS, dependency ratios, etc.)
  • Adult HIV prevalence
  • Number/percent of persons requiring daily care by 10-year age group, 50-80+
  • Literacy rates and educational attainment by 5-year age groups, 50-80+
  • Economic indicators by age group, 50-80+ (percent economically active, primary source of income, poverty ratios, etc.)
  • Health indicators by age group, 50-80+ (self-rated health, physical inactivity, cause-specific mortality, tobacco and alcohol consumption, fruit/vegetable intake)
  • Health services by age group, 50+ (use of health facility, traditional healer)
  • Housing quality, age 50+ (main water source, main toilet facility, housing material)
  • Family and household composition, age 50+ (marital status, household headship, percent living alone, percent with no family, percent with child living within one hour, etc.)
  • Psychosocial, by age 50+ (percent reporting loneliness)

Years of data collection: Varies by source, 1991-2003

Data Availability: Publicly available

Data & Documentation Links: