*Project History
* 2000
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2000 Survey


The period from 1984 to 2000 was a time of unprecedented economic growth in Thailand, fueled by foreign investment and a burgeoning global export market. Except for a financial crisis in 1997, which resulted in job loss in urban areas and return migration to rural areas, the Thai economy grew at a remarkable rate. This trend, in combination with the closing of the frontier in the Northeast, encouraged young adults from Nang Rong district to migrate to cities, either temporarily or permanently.

Between 1950 and 2000, the number of villages in Nang Rong district quadrupled through a process of new settlement and administrative division. In 2000, 34,381 individuals lived in 8,638 households in 92 villages in Nang Rong district.


The 2000-01 survey's purpose continued and expanded upon previous research to advance understanding of the effect of rapid social and environmental change upon the lives of people living in Nang Rong district, as well as Nang Rong migrants. Another goal was to add valuable data with advanced geo-spatial tools, together with GIS, participatory land use mapping using aerial photographs and local informant knowledge, and a manual household-to-land parcel-matching technique.

A third wave of longitudinal information was sought to enrich the data set and offer new opportunities for understanding migration processes, fertility and contraceptive behavior, and life course choices within a rapidly changing society. Building on the wealth of social network and spatial information lends depth and dimension to the data set.

Scope of Work

A large sample size (almost 10,000 households) and a nucleated village structure presented a unique set of challenges for the team of approximately 50 researchers from the Carolina Population Center and Mahidol University in Thailand. The 2000-01 field work collected both social and spatial data on population, environment, and land use from more than 50,000 individuals at the community, household, and individual levels.

•    The 2000 community survey profiled all 346 villages in Nang Rong district. Because of administrative splits of villages (villages are generally administratively split when the total number of households is greater than 100), the total number of district villages expanded from 310 in 1994 to 346 in 2000.

•    The 2000 household survey, which included a complete census of all persons in all households in the 51 original study villages. (Because of administrative splits of villages, the original 51 villages expanded to 92 by year 2000.) The data include persons who migrated into the study villages as well as those 1984 residents still (or perhaps again) residing in those villages. The 2000 survey also followed up all of the original 1984 and 1994 residents in 2000. An annual life history was collected in 2000 for those aged 18-41.

•    The 2000 migrant follow-up tracked more than 3400 migrants from 22 villages to four urban destinations and to rural villages within Nang Rong district.

Data Collection Methods

The 2000-01 data collection built on previous data collection efforts, with interviewers carefully matching individuals between 1984 and/or 1994 and 2000. In addition to the community, household, and migrant follow-up surveys, investigators incorporated an enhanced geo-spatial component, collecting locational GPS data for dwelling units, structures, household-linked agricultural plots, and landmark features. A second major set of data was gathered though group discussions, facilitating the linkage of village-level cadastral data to the people who use it.

At each level of observation, interviewers collected information about socioeconomic characteristics, social networks, and migration. Amenable Nang Rong villagers and diligent map making, survey, and data-entry teams were crucial to the data collection process.

The linkage of households to the land that people use is a major advance in associating people, place, and environment. Using cadastral maps encoded into GIS from the Thai land office and discussions with knowledgeable villagers, the boundaries of land parcels were drawn in non-cadastralized portions of village territories and households were linked to them, thereby creating a spatially explicit connection of households and villages to the land that they used during a three-year period. The linked data include a three-year crop history on these parcels of land, and identify the current users/owners of neighboring parcels.

Other data sources include aerial and satellite images from 1954 to the present. The primary remote sensing platform is the Landsat Thematic Mapper. A GIS was also developed that includes a digital elevation model, a road network made by digitizing road types from 1984 base maps, and a hydrographic data layer augmented by satellite views of small lakes.

Data Available

Most of the 2000 household census and 2000-01 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 2000 (as well as 1984 and 1994) 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 2000-01 questionnaires are included here in their original Thai form as well as English translations. Data codebooks and appendices are also available.

The information collected during the census not only provides basic demographic data but also information about individual migration experiences (both temporary and permanent), life history events, sibling relationships, household characteristics, household socioeconomic status, and labor exchange networks.

A collection of previously analyzed Landsat images (TM and MSS) dates from 1973. Other remotely sensed data available includes AVHRR, SPOT, and SAR, as well as aerial photos dating from the1950s. Digital coverages showing roads, rivers, elevation, soil types, and other spatial-thematic data are available within GIS. Daily precipitation and temperature data are available from 1965. Human dimensions and Landsat derived land use data can be linked at the village level for 1984, 1994, and 2000, and at the household level for approximately 9,000 households in 2000.

Contribution to the Field

The Nang Rong Projects database is unmatched in the combination and integration of information on many kinds of units, from individuals to households to villages and from pixels to plots, lines, patches, watersheds, and landscapes. It covers a range of spatial, social, and temporal scales of people, place, and environment. It is multi-thematic and multi-temporal, representing social, biophysical, and geographical domains. The design and collection of the relevant data and its integration into a wide-ranging, flexible, and spatially-explicit GIS database is one of the major accomplishments of the Nang Rong projects.

The Nang Rong surveys are both prospective and retrospective, include migrants from Nang Rong to Bangkok and selected other destinations, and cover a crucial period in the recent history of the country. With these data, it is possible to examine trends over the period, and to examine the experiences of a particular cohort of individuals through the life course. The data are remarkable in their ability to link people, place, and environment, and offer considerable value for this research and beyond.

Using recently developed cellular automaton modeling procedures, researchers are developing spatially explicit model-based simulations of future LULCC scenarios for Nang Rong district for the period 1950- 2020 and for the broader Southeast Asian region, including Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. While prediction is difficult, it seems that at least a sub-set of these countries is poised for substantial social and economic change, which may benefit from the knowledge gained in Nang Rong.


NIH supported the social survey data collection in 2000, including the linking of social and spatial data at the household and plot level.

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