Civil registration systems with complete coverage are the preferred source of data on deaths and causes of death.
Population censuses collect data on sex and age for all individuals. They may also collect data on recent deaths in the last 12 or last 24 months by sex and age, which, in combination with data on population by sex and age, can be used to obtain direct estimates of death rates. Data on survival of parents or survival of siblings may be used in combination with data by age and sex, data on live births by age of mother, and data on age gap between husbands and wives to obtain indirect estimates of mortality rates.
Household surveys can provide data on sex and age distribution of population. Demographic and health surveys can also provide data on survival of siblings and parents that can be used to estimate mortality. Selected health-related surveys with large sample may also collect data on recent deaths, and causes of death data may be obtained by using additional questions on causes of death, following a verbal autopsy approach.
Health administrative sources may provide some data on cause of death.
Population registers can provide data on population distribution by sex and age.