Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

Vital statistics and their subsequent analysis and interpretation are essential for setting targets and evaluating social and economic plans, including the monitoring of health and population intervention programmes, and the measurement of important demographic indicators of levels of living or quality of life, such as expectation of life at birth and the infant mortality rate. Social and economic sectors, including health, education, labour and employment, urban planning, finance and economic development, industry and trade, social insurance, environment, population, business, and commerce require solid and up-to-date statistics on levels and trends in fertility and mortality. The health sector depends on trustworthy data on levels, trends and causes of mortality to identify emerging health threats and high risk groups and provide the evidence base for selecting priority interventions and allocating resources.

Despite the importance of vital statistics, there is universal acknowledgement of the urgent need to improve their availability, timeliness and quality. With the view of strengthening technical capacity to contribute to the efforts in improving civil registration and vital statistics systems, UNSD aims to increase the knowledge of government statisticians, civil registration officials and other stakeholders about the international principles and recommendations for compiling, processing and disseminating vital statistics; and improve their capability in identifying gaps and challenges in applying international standards to improve their vital statistics system.

These activities originate in the UNSD mandate for training in civil registration and vital statistics, as per the International Programme for Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems, adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1991.

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Knowledge Base

This Knowledge Center documents and disseminates United Nations methodological guidelines, research articles and country practices and activities in the area of civil registration and vital statistics. It aims at facilitating the international exchange and sharing of knowledge and information, as well as provision of guidance to countries, and monitoring progress made on civil registration and vital statistics.

The Knowledge Center is a searchable database that contains documents on civil registration and vital statistics guidelines, demographic methods, and development of civil registration and vital statistics in various countries.

Coverage of civil registration and availability of vital statistics

Monitoring the status of civil registration and vital statistics for countries in the world is the first step to provide guidance and assistance to those that are in need. Two maps are included to show the coverage of birth and death registration in countries and areas. The user can also download an Excel file that contains information on the coverage of birth and death registration in each country, as well as source of information.

Based on information obtained from the Demographic Yearbook, a graph presents information on whether basic vital statistics is available for countries.

Standards and methods

The United Nations produces a wealth of methodological guidelines on civil registration and vital statistics.

Technical reports on the status of civil registration and vital statistics

These regional and national reports document the state of the art in country practices in registering vital events and producing vital statistics. The reports come from various sources, however, in the recent past, they have been based on workshops conducted by UNSD and assignments submitted by country representatives attending these workshops.

Meetings and workshops

Expert Group Meetings and Workshops conducted in the area of civil registration and vital statistics

Global Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Group

The Global Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Group is a group of international and regional organizations coming together to forge stronger alliances in the area of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). With growing recognition of the value of CRVS to human rights, good governance, and development planning, monitoring and evaluation, there has been renewed interest in strengthening national CRVS systems. CRVS is also emerging as an essential underpinning of the post-2015 development agenda, and considered as an essential element of National Strategies on the Development of Statistics (NSDS). The Group aims, among others, to converge strategic priorities towards the improvement of national CRVS systems, through active interaction and greater collaboration among members, and coordinate global efforts to deliver as one (See the ToR of the Group.)