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Malawi, District 1987 - 2008 [Level 1; consistent boundaries, GIS]

Codes and Frequencies

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GEO1_MW identifies the household's district within Malawi in all sample years. Districts are the first level administrative units of the country. GEO1_MW is spatially harmonized to account for political boundary changes across census years. Some detail is lost in harmonization; see the comparability discussion. A GIS map (in shapefile format), corresponding to GEO1_MW can be downloaded from the GIS Boundary files page in the IPUMS International web site.

The full set of geography variables for Malawi can be found in the IPUMS International Geography variables list. For cross-national geographic analysis on the first and second major administrative level refer to GEOLEV1, and GEOLEV2. More information on IPUMS-International geography can be found here.

Comparability — General

Where boundaries changed over time, units were harmonized to create units with boundaries that remain stable over time. Where officially-defined districts have populations below 20,000 (based on the most recent sample year), they have been regionalized (combined) with neighboring districts.

Boundary changes and confidentiality issues:

  • Likoma is combined with Nkhata Bay in all sample years for confidentiality reasons.
  • Neno was created from Mwanza after 1998.
  • The following districts and cities were listed as one district in 1998, but are identified as separate districts in 2008:
    • Mzimba and Mzuzu City
    • Lilongwe and Lilongwe City
    • Zomba and Zomba City
    • Blantyre and Blantyre City


  • All households


  • Malawi: 1987, 1998, 2008