*Project History
* 1994
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1994 Survey


In Nang Rong district, Thailand, the decade between 1984 and 1994 witnessed a major fertility decline, increased use of contraception, electrification, the extension and improvement of the road network, increasing frequency of bus service, more widespread use of tractors (mostly “walking tractors”) for land preparation, an increase in the number of mechanized rice mills, and improvements in sanitation and water storage. In 1994, there were 31,216 people living in 7,331 households in 76 villages in Nang Rong district.


The 1994-95 Nang Rong Project’s research purpose was to study the effect of rapid social and environmental change upon the lives of people in Nang Rong district as well as those who had migrated from Nang Rong. Important aspects of the research were to understand fertility and contraceptive behavior, life course choices, and migration processes within the context of rapid social and economic change. Other important aspects were to examine a variety of social networks and analyze their effect on individuals. Finally, data were designed to be integrated with geographic and environmental data to analyze the relationship between population and the environment.

Scope of Work

The data collection effort in 1994-95 was carried out by the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand, and the Carolina Population Center. The research team included researchers, students, and programmers at both institutions.

The 1994-95 data collection had three components: a community profile, household survey, and migrant follow-up. Investigators returned to villages, households, and individuals surveyed in 1984, with a greatly expanded research agenda. At each level of observation interviewers collected information about socioeconomic characteristics, migration, and social networks.

•    The 1994 community profile gathered information in all 310 villages in Nang Rong, including but not limited to the 51 villages part of the original 1984 survey.

•    The 1994 household survey was a complete household census in each of the 51 villages that were part of the 1984 survey. (Because of administrative splits of villages, the original 51 villages expanded to 76 in 1994.)

•    The 1995 migrant follow-up collected data from 1781 out-migrants from 22 of the 51 villages. The 22 villages were selected randomly within strata created by cross-classifying general location (quadrant) and distance from major paved roads in 1984. Persons resident in 1984 but no longer resident in 1994 were candidates for follow-up if they had gone to one of the four most popular destination areas: Bangkok and surrounds, the Eastern Seaboard (a focus of rapid growth and development), Korat (a regional city), or Buriram (the provincial city).

Data Collection Methods

At all levels of observation a team of interviewers gathered population survey data from informants, at least one person from each household. A group of village informants (including the village headman, headman’s helpers, head of the housewives group, and others) provided information about village characteristics. Investigators succeeded in finding and interviewing about 70 percent of the migrants.

Land use and land cover data are derived from satellite spectral classifications, and terrain and associated landscape data are digitized from basemaps and derived through spatial and ecological models. All data sets are integrated within a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Data Available

Most of the 1994 household census and 1995 migrant follow-up can be downloaded from the public use area on our web site or from the Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR) project of ICPSR at the University of Michigan. The entire longitudinal data set from 1994 (as well as 1984 and 2000) are also available by contractual agreement with the DSDR project. These data are available only to researchers with an IRB-approved plan for handling and storing sensitive data who agree to keep the data confidential.

The 1994-95 questionnaires are included here in their original Thai form as well as English translations. Codebooks and appendices are also included.

The data provide a detailed account of villagers’ lives, both in 1994-95 and retrospectively.

•    The 1994 community profile collected information in each of the Nang Rong villages about population size and composition, cropping, water sources, agricultural technology, electrification, transportation and communication, health and family planning services, village groups and committees, and perceptions about deforestation. The village data include information on social relations among villages based on sharing temples, schools, labor, equipment, water sources, bus routes, and access to major highways.

•    The 1994 household survey obtained social and demographic facts about current members; yearly life history data for 18- to 35-year-olds, including occupation and migration patterns; sibling networks for 18- to 35-year-olds; household characteristics, including land, agricultural equipment, crop mix, planting and harvesting of rice, cassava, and sugar cane; household socioeconomic status and debts; labor exchange networks; visits and exchanges of goods and money with former household members. The household data include information on social relations with other households based on sibling relationships, rice harvest, shared agricultural equipment, use of local rice mills, and membership in village organizations.

•    Migrant data include occupation and migration patterns, life history data, and household information. The migrant network data include information on contact with other migrants from the origin villages, visits and exchanges of money and goods with origin households, sibling ties, and friends and acquaintances in the place of destination.

Data from the 1994-95 surveys are incorporated into a GIS. The result is an integrated and flexible data base, linked by geographic referents as well as individual, household, and community IDs, that can be used to address a variety of questions about population and the environment.

Contribution to the Field

The largest data collection of its kind, the Nang Rong data set is notable in several aspects: longitudinal data on individuals, extensive social network data, and integrated spatial and environmental data.

•    The ability to match individuals across time is one of the essential aspects of the Nang Rong Projects. Successful matches yield a longitudinal data set that provides a valuable basis for understanding many different social phenomena during a period of very rapid social change. The Nang Rong Projects are unique in the size and scope of the effort to follow migrants and provides very important insights into migration processes.

•    Another distinctive feature of the Nang Rong data is the availability of data on complete social networks. Nang Rong investigators undertook a difficult, but very innovative, task to identify both social and kinship networks among the residents, households, and villages of Nang Rong. These ties are measured directly through kinship, labor exchanges, and agricultural equipment exchanges and indirectly through the shared use of resources such as rice mills or participation in community social groups. Many important measures of network structure and position, such as subgroups and their membership, indirect connections between network members via intermediaries, and some kinds of network positions can be calculated only from complete networks. A strength of the data is the rich information on characteristics of households (e.g., size and composition, contraceptive choices of married women, agricultural activities) and villages (e.g., resources, social institutions, health care) that can be used to help interpret network patterns and to understand variation in network patterns across villages. The social network data is valuable to social scientists seeking to understand how everyday life is influenced by interactions with others. The Nang Rong study is the first to incorporate social network data in a survey and has attracted considerable attention from social scientists in Thailand and internationally.

•    Linking spatial data with population survey data allows examination of population-environment and yields insights into patterns of network ties. The spatial analytic capabilities of the GIS also make it possible to assess the impact of the administratively defined district boundary and to evaluate whether rivers and perennial streams create barriers to network ties between villages. The integrated spatial/social data set is being used to explore dynamic interrelationships among land use, population, and social and economic change. Topics under investigation include the impact of international commodity markets on land use; the extension of road networks, settlement patterns and deforestation; and population change in relation to the extensification and intensification of agriculture. The mapping capabilities of the GIS are particularly crucial for these descriptive analyses.


The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this effort (R01-HD25482).

  Last Modified: 12/16/2008 UNC Carolina Population Center