Recommended Citations

Citing DHS Publications

The recommended citations for individual survey and analytical publications are provided on each publication’s web page, as well as inside the title page of each report.

Citation information can also be downloaded in two ways:

  • On the individual publications summary page for most analytical reports and final reports.
  • As a full library. Below you can download a full library of all the analytical or final survey report citations currently available in Endnote or RIS format, including abstracts and attribution notes.

Guidance on Using Downloadable Citations from The DHS Program

The DHS Program has always published recommended citations inside the front cover of reports. However, EndNote and other reference software do not recognize some of elements of The DHS Program's standard recommended citation. Therefore the reference data provided on the DHS website will not, in some cases, match the recommended citations presented in the print copies of DHS reports. Users are welcome to use either format. However, users of the downloadable citations data should be aware that some elements should be reviewed carefully after importing into reference software. These include:

  • Special characters. Not all special characters (e.g. accents, apostrophes) import correctly into citation management software. Users should edit carefully or refer to documentation from the citation software provider for support.
  • Parentheses and Brackets. Typically DHS recommended citations include the country name in brackets following a reference to the name of an implementing agency (e.g. Ministry of Health [Rwanda]) and an acronym name in parentheses following the name of an agency (e.g. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT)). However, Endnote moves those bracketed items to the notes section. To work around this we have changed our data entry to include the country name following a slash (e.g. Ministry of Health/Rwanda) and the acronym name following a hyphen (Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency - ZIMSTAT). Either is acceptable.
  • .RIS format citations that have institutional authors (such as ICF International) may not import correctly into reference management software without the manual addition of a comma. Endnote users are recommended to use the Endnote format library to help avoid this issue. We recommend that users of other reference software review and edit institutional author names as needed.
  • "And".  Institutional names that have an "and" in them (e.g. Ministry of Health and Development) are automatically imported as two separate authors. Users should manually combine these fields. Please refer to the pdf or printed copy of the report for correct names of report contributors.

Accuracy of citations is ultimately the responsibility of the user.


Other DHS resources should be cited as follows:


ICF. “Page title.” The DHS Program website. Funded by USAID. [Accessed Month, Day, Year].


ICF, 2012. The DHS Program STATcompiler. Funded by USAID. [Accessed Month, Day, Year]. 

Mobile App: 

ICF, 2012. The DHS Program Mobile App. Funded by USAID (Version 3.7.1). Computer software. Retrieved from [Accessed Month, Day, Year].

Spatial Data Repository:

ICF. The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository. Funded by USAID. [Accessed Month, Day, Year].


For a single dataset, the citation should be based on the citation used in the final report, but with a number of additions:

  • Insert "[Dataset]" after the title of the survey.
  • Follow this with the name of the dataset, e.g. IDIR31.SAV. If there are multiple datasets for a survey, list them if possible. If too many, this can be omitted.
  • Follow the list of institutions involved in the report with "[Producers]".
  • Add "ICF [Distributor], year" to the end with the year the dataset was made available for distribution (typically the same as the year of publication of the report).

For example, for the 2016 Timor-Leste DHS recode data set, use a citation such as:

General Directorate of Statistics [Timor-Leste], Ministry of Finance [Timor-Leste], and ICF. 2018.
Timor-Leste Demographic and Health Survey 2016 [Dataset]. TLIR71.DTA. Rockville, Maryland: General Directorate of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, and ICF [Producers]. ICF [Distributor], 2018.

Multiple Datasets (more than 3) from multiple countries:

ICF. 2004-2017. Demographic and Health Surveys (various) [Datasets]. Funded by USAID. Rockville, Maryland: ICF [Distributor].

If the recode manual is used, that should be referenced separately, as should other documents that are used.

Questions or Comments?

Please post in the Publications thread of the DHS User Forum. You can also read more about Citing DHS Publications in our blog.


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