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Indicator Name, Target and Goal

Indicator 16.9.1: Proportion of children under 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age

Target 16.9: By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Definition and Rationale


This indicator is defined as the percentage of children under 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority. 


Birth registration: Birth registration is defined as ‘the continuous, permanent and universal recording, within the civil registry, of the occurrence and characteristics of births in accordance with the legal requirements of a country’. 

Civil authority: Official authorized to register the occurrence of a vital event and to record the required details. 

Rationale and Interpretation:

Registering children at birth is the first step in securing their recognition before the law, safeguarding their rights, and ensuring any violation of their rights does not go unnoticed. Children’s right to a name and nationality is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) under Article 7. Registration of birth is one of the foundations of legal identity which ensures access to basic services such as healthcare and education. It also provides a legal basis for age. This indicator is, therefore, a direct measure of the progress on target 16.9.

Data Sources and Collection Method

Civil registration systems that are functioning effectively compile vital statistics that are used to compare the estimated total number of births in a country with the absolute number of registered births during a given period. These data normally refer to live births that were registered within a year or the legal time frame for registration applicable in the country.

In cases where civil registration systems are unavailable or do not function effectively, nationally representative household surveys that collect data on birth registration can provide data on this indicator. Internationally coordinated household surveys such as the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) also collect data on this indicator.

Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations

Computation Method:

The percentage of children under 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority (Preg) can be calculated as: 

Comments and limitations: 

This indicator should ideally be calculated using vital statistics obtained from civil registration systems. However, this remains a challenge in many countries due to a lack of functioning systems; furthermore, data obtained from CRVS differ slightly from the SDG indicator since it typically refers to the proportion of births that have been registered (within a specific timeframe). As a result, household surveys have become a key source of data to monitor levels and trends in birth registration in many low- and middle-income countries. 

Proxy, alternative and additional indicators: N/A

Data Disaggregation

Disaggregation by age is required for this indicator. It can also be disaggregated by sex, income, place of residence (rural/urban), and geographic location. In addition to these standard levels of disaggregation, this indicator can be usefully disaggregated in some surveys by mother’s level of education, ethnicity, religion, child functional difficulty and mother’s functional difficulties. There is typically more potential to disaggregate survey data as opposed to statistics derived from civil registration systems.


Official SDG Metadata URL  

Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
For information on calculation of the indicator and to access MICS module on birth registration, see: 

Other references
UNICEF Briefing Notes on SDG Indicators:
UNICEF. Briefing notes on SDG global indicators related to children. Available at

Additional References:
UNICEF. Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women. Internet site: 

Country examples

International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring

This document was prepared based on inputs from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

For focal point information for this indicator, please visit

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