MPIDR Working Paper

New adjustment procedure for distortion in age distribution

Rasul, A., Nasir, J. A., Jdanov, D. A.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2024-001, 22 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (January 2024)
Open Access


Accurate age data is a prerequisite for any demographic inquiry. Unfortunately, in many developing countries visible age heaping is present in census and survey data of reported age at the time of census or survey. In this article, a new method is proposed for age adjustment of the respondent current age at the time of interview/data collection. The method is based on the rectangular distribution probabilities for terminal digits of age. The algorithms-based method is used to estimate true/adjusted age distribution in the presence of age heaping/age misreporting. Application of the method is performed on the most recent demographic and health survey data from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, and Gambia. UN Criteria for age accuracy is used to check the accuracy of adjusted/true age distribution. The result revealed that after adjustment of the terminal digit by the proposed method of digit shift the adjusted age distributions are perfectly accurate. The method will be applicable to survey and census data. The method will be very useful in fertility analysis where the individual year of age of women plays an important role.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.