Coverage of Birth and Death Registration

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.

The work of the United Nations Statistics Division to assist countries in improving their civil registration and vital statistics systems started in 1949, following the recommendations by the Statistical Commission at that time. Progress has been made ever since in most countries.

There are still deficiencies, however, in civil registration systems in many countries until this date. For example, only 62% of the countries, territories and areas register at least 90% of births occurred. Furthermore, for death registration, only 57% of the countries, territories and areas have at least 90% coverage.

Source of information: Several sources are used to obtain the coverage of birth and death registration for more than 230 countries and areas. The primary source is the "Quality of vital statistics obtained from civil registration" page on the United Nations Demographic Yearbook Vital Statistics Questionnaire. Source of information also includes United Nations Statistics Division workshops that have been conducted in the past, when covearge information was obtained from country representative(s) either from the National Statistical Office or the Civil Registration Authority attending the workshop. When information is not available from these two sources, coverage information estimated by the International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics (IIVRS), UNICEF (Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey), ICF Macro (Demographic and Health Survey) and/or the World Health Organisation is then used.

Download file on birth and death coverage

Last updated: December 2014

Note: The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Availability of vital statistics

The availability of reliable, up-to-date and continuous vital statistics depends on the level of development of civil registration systems. Vital statistics is not always available for all countries in the world. For some, basic birth and death statistics can only be obtained from population censuses and sample surveys, which tend to suffer from random errors, recalling errors, and lack of continuity.

The chart below shows the availability, completeness and data source of the total number of births and deaths for in the period 2009 - 2013, by region.


Last updated: August 2016

For up-to-date availability of live births and deaths statistics submitted by countries to UNSD, as well as the data source for obtaining those statistics, please visit UNData.
Live births