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Living Standards Measurement Study

Land tenure

Measuring Individual Land Tenure Rights in the SDG Agenda

Land is a key economic resource inextricably linked to access to, use of and control over other economic and productive resources. Recognition of this has driven demand for strengthening tenure security for all, on an individual, sex-disaggregated level. This has prompted the inclusion of Indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.

SDG Indicator 1.4.2: Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with (a) legally recognized documentation; and (b) who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure.

SDG Indicator 5.a.1: (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure

The LSMS team has collaborated with the custodians of SDG indicators 1.4.2 (UN-Habitat and the World Bank) and 5.a.1 (FAO), with the support of GDWGL and GLII,[1]  to design a standardized and succinct survey instrument to collect the essential data for computation of both indicators simultaneously. As the data collection requirements for each indicator largely overlap, great gains in efficiency are possible by implementing a joint module in existing survey questionnaires. The joint questionnaire modules and accompanying guidance note aim to facilitate the successful, efficient, and cross-country comparable data collection for computation of SDG indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 in line with the methodologies approved by the IAEG-SDGs.

The survey instrument was designed with an eye for the integration of essential questions for both indicators into existing survey instruments, with the possibility of stand-alone implementation. Due to the various survey designs in which this module could be integrated, multiple versions of the module have been designed to allow it to be inserted easily into a number of different scenarios. The questionnaire versions differ on; (i) respondent selection, whether self-respondent or proxy respondent, and (ii) level of data collection, whether data is collected at the parcel level or the household/farm level.


[1] GDWGL is the Global Donor Working Group on Land; GLII is the Global Land Indicators Initiative, established in 2012 and hosted by the Global Land Tool Network.



  • Armenia Land Tenure and Area (ALTA) Study:

    The LSMS team collaborated with the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) and the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia to implement a methodological study in three marzes in 2019. The study was designed primarily to test and understand the implications for using different versions of the land tenure questionnaire module (found here) and the sensitivity of SDG indicator computation to the module used. Additionally, the ALTA study tested the use of satellite imagery for land area measurement vis-à-vis ground based GPS measures.