Colonist Socio-Economic / Demographic Database Description

The socio-economic/demographic (SED) database contains a wealth of information. Below is a description of the database contents, including I) information on the Spanish questionnaires used in the 1999 household survey to interview the Jefe (Head of Household), the Esposa (Spouse of Head), and the 2000 Community-level Questionnaire; II) information on the English versions of the above questionnaires with variable names to indicate the variable codes in the data; III) a listing of all variables in the Jefe, Esposa, and Community data sets along with a brief description (mostly in Spanish); IV) a summary of the data collected (total observations, response rates, etc.); and V) summary frequencies for selected variables from each section of each survey. Details of the data sets and frequencies are indicated.

I. Jefe, Esposa, and Community Surveys

In 1999, household surveys were administered separately to the head of the household (Jefe survey) and spouse of the head (Esposa survey) to collect data on land use, farm production, interaction with labor markets, migration, household composition, fertility, and other important topics which can be seen in the attached surveys. In 2000, Community surveys were administered to collect data on available infrastructure, local population, and economic growth. All three surveys are available on the Colonist Questionnaires & Manuals page.

II. Jefe, Esposa, and Community Surveys with Codes

The three surveys listed in Section I were translated to English and variables were added to the questionnaires to provide variable codes. The three translated surveys and the English codebook with the variable codes are available on the Colonist Questionnaires & Manuals page.

III. Variable descriptions

All variables printed in the codebook are listed in three separate files: one for the Jefe data, one for the Esposa data, and one for the Community data. Click on the links below to view these lists.

Note: Files are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.


IV. Brief Description of the Samples for the Household Survey and the Community Survey

The sample was originally selected in 1990 in a previous project. It comprised farm plots of 40-50 hectares in 60 sample sectors or areas, representative of migrant farmers who had settled in the main colonization area in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon (currently the provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana, originally Napo province). The sample frame was available from IERAC. The information below summarizes the main sample characteristics of the later 1999 Ecuador household survey, (funded largely by NASA), which comprised interviews with both the head of household (Jefe) and spouse (Esposa).

The community survey is linked directly to the household surveys, as the identification of communities to interview is based on responses in the Esposa questionnaire regarding where the household goes for health care, school, church, and purchase of consumer goods. Responses were tabulated for each of these four questions for all households in each sample settlement area or sector to identify the main “reference” communities of sample households. As a result, we selected 67 communities to interview, ranging from tiny communities of a few households, a small store or tienda, and a primary school (which all but one has) to Lago Agrio, the largest city in the study region, with an urban population of 34,000 in the November 2001 population census of Ecuador. These communities are distributed throughout the same study area as the households.

Table 1.1: 1999 JEFE Data
Questionnaires administered:
Farm Data (completed / administered):
767 / 823
Solar1 Data (completed / administered):
111 / 111
Complete Data Available for Plots:
878 / 934
(Farm Owners)
# Owners of 1 farm:
# Owners of 2 farms:
# Owners of 3 farms:
Total independent farm owners:


Table 1.2: 1999 ESPOSA Data
Questionnaires administered:
Farm Data (completed / administered):
652 / 676
Solar4 Data (completed / administered):
111 / 111
Complete Data Available for Plots:
763 / 787
(Linked to Males)
Complete data:
Complete Esposa / Incomplete Jefe data:
Incomplete Esposa / Complete Jefe data:
Incomplete Esposa and Incomplete Jefe data:
Complete HH data linked to Solar data:


Table 1.3: General data for 1999
# Sample Sectors (PSUs):
Finca Madres visited:
Finca Madres reporting farm data:


Table 1.4: 2000 Community data 6
Communities visited in 2000:
Completed Surveys:


1 Solares are household plots on the original 1990 sample farms with less than 1 ha. of land, therefore essentially non-agricultural. Abbreviated questionnaires were administered to these households.
2 2 of these farms have only partially complete questionnaires.
3 Total # farms = 648 + 112 + 9 = 769 (2 are partially complete, 3 have missing ESPOSA data)
4 Solares are household plots on the original 1990 sample farms with less than 1 ha. of land, therefore essentially non-agricultural. Abbreviated questionnaires were administered to these households.
5 This means that at least 1 subdivision on a finca madre reports information. Finca madres are the original farms of 40-50 hectares allocated to the first settlers by IERAC.
6 8 additional communities were visited in 2002 to add to the sample, but have not yet been added to the data set.
7 One community was visited twice.

V. Variables for which complete frequencies will be provided (from the Jefe and Esposa questionnaires, and the Community questionnaire).

The frequency distributions for the main variables listed below are provided. Definitions of variables and variable numbers in the codebook are provided below for the Jefe and Esposa questionnaires (1999) and the community questionnaire (2000). While most variables are fully cleaned, a few have only been cleaned in Ecuador and have not yet received final cleaning in North Carolina (9/02). Data frequencies are available in the following three Adobe Acrobat files:

V.1 – Jefe Questionnaire

A) Location of farm: variables that give the location characteristics of the farm.
1) A2 – Province (1=Napo/Orellana, 2=Sucumbios)
2) A19B – Sector where the farm is located
3) A20 to A23 – Distance of the farm to the road

B) Background/migrant origin: variables that give the characteristics of the place of origin of the household head.
1) B2 – Whether place of birth was urban or rural (1=rural, 2=urban/city)
2) B34 –Year the head settled in the Amazon
3) B5 – Whether head had land in place of residence before moving to Amazon (0=no, 1=yes)

C) Variables indicating land tenure and land subdivisions of the farm
1) C4 – Plot size: how many hectares the head manages independently as his farm
2) C5 – How many years the head has lived on the plot
3) C7 – Type of ownership document on the farm plot (1=legal title, 2=certificate of possession (provisional title), 3=plot surveyed only, 4= nothing)

D) Variables indicating biophysical characteristics and land use of farm plot
1) D2 – Predominant type of soil (1=black, 2=red, 3=sand/alluvial, 4=other)
2) D4 – Predominant topography (1=flat, 2=rolling, 3=steep hills, 4=mixture of step and rolling, 5=mix of rolling/steep, 6=mix of flat/steep hills)
3) D6 – Land cover and land use on the farm (hectares in the following forms of land use: perennials, annual crops, pasture, primary forest, secondary forest, swamp, fallow)

E) Variables describing production and yields
1) E2 – Use of fertilizer (organic fertilizer or chemicals)
2) E3 – Whether has cattle or other large livestock; how many cattle and calves combined
3) E42A – Whether sold logs or wood in the last 12 months

F) Variables indicating plans for future land use
1) Whether head of household plans to add more livestock this year or the next year

G) Variables describing characteristics of the labor force on the farm
1) G1 – Hired labor: Whether in the past year (1998) the household hired any day laborers or long-term workers
2) G4 – Off-farm employment: Whether in the past 12 months the head or any other member of the household worked away from the farm for at least one month in total

H) Variables describing information and technical assistance received or obtained
1) H2 – Whether any type of agricultural technical assistance was received, and for what farm product (coffee, other perennials, cattle, etc).
2) H7 – Whether head received any credit (loan) since he or she arrived in Amazon

I) Variables describing attitudes and satisfaction of the head of the household
1) I1 – Whether life has changed since arrived in Amazon in comparison with previous place of residence (better, the same, worse)
2) I2 – Whether environmental contamination exists on or around the farm

V.2 – Esposa Questionnaire

B) Variables describing characteristics of members of household
1) SEXO, EDAD – Population living in the household by age and sex
2) NIVEL – Level of education completed by the head of the household and his/her spouse (0=not applicable, 1=none, 2=incomplete primary, 3=complete primary, 4=incomplete secondary, 5=complete secondary, 6=technical school, 7=university, 8=other)

C) Variables describing characteristics of out-migrants from household
1- C1-E – Whether since 1990 or since the spouse arrived at the farm, anyone living in the household left the farm plot to live elsewhere
2- CSEXO, CEDAD –number of adult out-migrants (aged 12 + at time of leaving) by age and sex

D) Variables describing migratory characteristics of female spouse
1) D2_E – Whether place of birth urban or rural (1=country/rural, 2=city/urban)
2) D8 – Whether the woman had land (or administered or managed land) in the previous place of residence

E) Variables describing living conditions on farm
1) E1 – Number of rooms used for sleeping
2) E2 – Whether house has a separate space or room for kitchen
3) E4 – Whether house has electricity
4) E6 – Treatment of human waste (1=open field or forest, 2=latrine or septic tank, 3=sewer system)
5) E11 – Fuel used to cook (1=fuelwood or charcoal, 2=gas, 3=both, 4=other)
6) E12 – Availability of items in the household (table, radio, television, refrigerator, chainsaw, vehicle)

F) Variables describing woman’s reproductive health
1) F63 – Total number of live births
2) F10 – Whether the last child born received vaccinations
3) F13 – Whether the woman wishes to have another child
4) F14 – Whether the woman/husband is using any contraceptive method or any other means for avoiding or delaying pregnancy

G) Variables describing health conditions of members of household
G1_E – Whether anyone in the household has been sick in the past 3 months
G3_E – Whether the respondent is sick more often since coming to Amazon

H) Variables describing women’s work on the farm
1) H1 – Whether the woman (respondent) raises small animals; If yes, how many chickens and pigs

I) Variables indicating attitudes and level of satisfaction of female spouse of head
1) I3_E – Whether her life has changed since arrived at Amazon in comparison with previous place of residence (better, the same, worse)
2) I4 – Whether environmental contamination exists on or around the farm

V.3 – Community Questionnaire

A) Variables describing the location of the community
1) A1 – Province where the community is located (1=Orellana, 2=Sucumbios)
2) A5 – Name of the nearest significant city (1=Lago Agrio, 2= Coca, 3=Shushufindi, 4=Joya de los Sachas, 5=other)

C) Variables describing population size and migration
1) C1A – Number of people living in the community in 2000
2) C6 – Whether families out-migrated from the community since 1990
3) C7 – Whether families came to live in the community since 1990

D) Variables describing main economic activity of families living in the community
1) D11+D12 – Number of families out of 10 that participate in agriculture.

F) Variables describing the use of cattle and wood in the community
1) F1 – Number of families with cattle
2) F3 – Evolution of the number of families with cattle since 1990 (1=higher number, 2= same, 3=smaller number)
3) F8 – Whether wood is sold from farms in the community
4) F9 – Whether reforestation has occurred in the community

H) Variables indicating facilities and infrastructure in the community
1) H – Whether community has the following: electricity, treated water, church, coffee roaster, sawmill, pharmacy, health center, primary school, high school

I) Variables indicating means of transportation available in the community
1) I2A-I2B – Whether community has bus or “ranchera” (improvised truck) service