Over the past 20 years there has been a revolution in the collection of high quality statistical information about the health of the world’s adults, children, and households. To assess changes in national policies over time and their effects on health outcomes, our team has collected longitudinal information dating back to 1995 or 1999 for series of social policies in up to 193 UN countries.

Available Datasets

Adult Labour Policy Databases

  1. Maternity leave

  2. Parental leave

  3. Paternity leave

  4. Breastfeeding breaks at work

  5. Sick leave

  6. Family health leave

  7. Child health leave

  8. Minimum wage

Child Protection Policy Databases

  1. Child labour

  2. Minimum age of marriage

Poverty Reduction Databases (by request)

  1. Unemployment Insurance benefits

  2. Family cash benefits

These data facilitate three types of related research projects:

(1) national-level health studies investigating the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between social policies and health indicators

(2) cross-national multilevel studies assessing the relation between social policies and health indicators from harmonized cross-national surveys

(3) in-depth sub-national studies of the relation between policies and health


Established in 1984, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program has conducted nationally representative surveys in more than 90 different countries, surveying no less than 60 countries at two or more points in time. While there is variability in the inclusion of certain questionnaire modules and individual questions, the DHS have consistently focused on collecting information related to fertility, family planning and nutritional status for women aged 15-49 and young children (0-59 months). In addition, they collect demographic information on household structure, employment, education, wealth, and place of residence – which makes the DHS surveys a rich source of both health and socioeconomic data.

Similar to the DHS, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) were developed by UNICEF to monitor maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries. The second, third, and fourth rounds of MICS were conducted after 2000 in more than 60 countries, and include information on nutritional status and child mortality, medical care during the antenatal and postnatal periods, and sibling maternal mortality, among others.

Combining MICS and DHS data, information is available from hundreds of thousands of households with children under the age of 5 and women aged 15-49 in approximately 120 countries. For some countries, data may span as many as 20 years. The countries sampled by these surveys comprise a large proportion of the world’s population in the six World Health Organization regions.