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Zambia’s living conditions monitoring survey: interpreting the results

Cora Mezger

Cora Mezger, Mary Strode, Aly Visram

We worked with the Zambian Central Statistical Office to edit, analyse and present data from the 2010 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS). As well as providing technical assistance with data cleaning, data quality assessments and the development of sampling weights, we supported comprehensive analysis of data across all policy areas except poverty. As a result, the project has helped inform the country’s sixth national development plan addressing areas including health, education and agriculture.


Zambia’s Living Conditions Monitoring Surveys (LCMS) aim to provide a baseline against which to monitor changes in living conditions across the country. The usefulness of the surveys as an aid to support policy-making depends on the application of a common methodology to analyse changes in key indicators across several surveys.

The sixth survey in the series- LCMS 2010 - represented an important basis for the production of Zambia’s Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) and the associated policy-making process. We were asked to facilitate the publication of the LCMS 2010 results by contributing to data editing, analysis, report writing and interpretation through comparisons of previous surveys using comparable methodologies.

Our approach

We worked with the Zambian Government’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) to support the analysis of the country’s 2010 LCMS.

Work focused around the editing and statistical interpretation of survey data and included the calculation of the weights necessary to produce meaningful national estimates across a number of indicators.

In addition, we supported the efficient dissemination of data to policy-makers and other key stakeholders through the preparation of in-depth analysis reports for sector advisory groups working on the draft SNDP.

Specific areas of support we provided include:

  • Calculation of sampling weights
  • Cleaning and final editing of the 2010 data
  • Assessment of data quality
  • Analysis of the data from both the 2010 and the previous (2006) survey
  • Preparing reports of the survey findings on demography, education, health, child health, income, economic activity, agricultural production, community facilities, coping strategies, migration, and dwelling.


The support we provided helped the Zambian Central Statistical Office (CSO) to publish key insights from the LCMS 2010. In turn, these results have helped inform the country’s sixth national development plan addressing policy areas including health, education and agriculture.

Over the longer-term, the effective and efficient implementation and roll-out of development policies encapsulated in the SNDP should contribute to improved living conditions for a greater number of Zambians.