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Country Profile of Malawi

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
National Statistical Office (NSO)
Web address
Position in the government
The main agency for compiling official statistics in Malawi. The NSO is under the Ministry of Development Planning and Cooperation.
Organizational structure and finance
The NSO also has regional offices in the major urban centres of Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Blantyre. Many of the NSO's statistical products may be obtained at these offices as well as the headquarters in Zomba.

Situated off Chimbiya Road, Zomba, the NSO Headquarters contains the offices of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner for Census and Statistics, together with the general administration, accounts and human resources departments. There are 300 employees.

The administration section also deals with first enquiries for statistical data from the general public, and with product sales.

The Economics Division produces statistics on foreign trade, national accounts, balance of payments, business activity, employment, consumer prices (including inflation), industrial production, poverty and tourism. Major surveys include the Annual Economic Survey, the 5-yearly Integrated Household Survey, and Small and Medium Scale business surveys.

The computer section, responsible for maintaining the office computers and wide area network, is also situated in this campus.

The Demography Division is responsible for the population census, which takes place every ten years, and a number of other demographic and social surveys, such as the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

The Agriculture Division is responsible for the Annual Welfare Monitoring Survey . The Division also conducts agricultural surveys every 5 – 10 years and collaborates with Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security on CountryStat and updating the Agriculture Statistics Information Systemtoring Survey.

The Publications Division collects data from other Divisions and other institutions and publishes the Monthly and Quarterly Statistical Bulletins, the Annual Statistical Yearbook, and Malawi in Figures. The Division also produces a guide to Malawi Statistical sources, and maintains a databank of time series data.

The Division also collects and publishes a variety of transport statistics, including the results of a survey of road traffic.

Situated within the Publications Division, the library serves as a resource centre for NSO staff and for customers looking for statistical data. The library has computer, internet, scanning and video facilities and maintains a stock of text books and statistical publications from Malawi, Africa and various international organisations.
Multi-annual or annual work program
NSO has a five year statistical activity plan the current one runs from 2007 2011. In addition NSO has a National Statistical System (NSS) Strategic Plan which runs from 2008 to 2012.
Main duties
NSO is mandated to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate official statistics in Malawi

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
The National Statistical Office (NSO) was established after independence in 1964, and operates through the 1967 Statistics Act for the collection, compilation, analysis, abstraction and publication of statistical information on a wide range of topics.

Legal basis
Legal basis
1967 Statistics Act

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
The statistical system of Malawi is partly decentralised. Although the National Statistical Office is mandated to collect and compile all major statistics, many other government departments collect and compile statistics relevant to their situation. However the National Statistical Office takes a coordinating role in the collection and compilation of statistics, to try and minimise redundancy, omission and inconsistencies and duplication.

Statistics that are collected by the National Statistical Office and those from, Government Ministries and Departments that are endorsed by NSO are called official statistics. These statistics are usually the result of censuses, surveys or administrative records.

Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
Currently there is the National Statistical System (NSS) Steering Committee.

Data collection
Most recent population census
8-21 June 2008
Access to administrative data
NSO has access to statistical data that is available from administrative records of some other government departments.
Data confidentiality
Data confidentiality is one of the core values of the NSO.

Keeping confidential all data provided by respondents is in accordance with the 1967 Statistics Act

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
Release Calander is available
Monthly release of Consumer Price Index released through Monthly Stasflash, website, e-mail list and paper publication.

Monthly Statistical Bulletin released through the website and paper publication

Quarterly Statistical Bulletin released through the website and paper publication
Main publications
The primary method used to disseminate official statistics is through paper based printed publications. These are often reports of surveys, or regular publications consisting of statistics routinely collected on a regular basis. A detailed list can be found at the website.

Increasingly, a number of official statistics are also disseminated electronically, using diskettes, CD-ROMs and the Internet. The National Statistical Office also publishes most data on this web site.

A further development, which is in progress, is the establishment of a statistical data bank, containing time series, tabulated data and unprocessed survey records. The purpose is to establish a reliable national statistical resource and archive for users.

Data on line

Time series
o Time series databank
o Malawi Socio-Economic Database (MASEDA)


o Malawi:An Atlas of Social Statistics
o Welfare Indicators Survey
o Malawi in Figures
o Statistical Yearbook
o Latest Monthly Statistical Bulletin


o Foreign Trade
o Consumer Prices (including price inflation)
o National Accounts
o 2000 Gemini MSE Baseline Survey
o 2002 Malawi District Level Gemini Baseline Survey
o 1998 Medium Scale Business Survey
o 1998 Integrated Household Survey (including the poverty profile and determinants of poverty)
o Annual Economic Survey
o 2004-5 Second Integrated Household Survey


o 2002 Malawi DHS EdData Survey
o 2000 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey
o 1998 Census results
o Malawi Population Projections 1999 – 2025
o 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey
o 2006 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey
o 2008 Population and Housing Census


o 1999 Minibus Operators Establishment Survey


o District Specific Surveys
Languages of main publications
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Paper, database, CD-Rom and online
Availability of microdata for research purposes
Data is available on request.The datasets available include Population Censuses , Demographic and Health Surveys, Integrated Household Surveys, Welfare Monitoring Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.

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