Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System

Revision 3

image of Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System

The publication is an international standard on the design and operation of an efficient and accurate vital statistics system at national level. It provides guidelines on collection, compiling and disseminating vital statistics. More specifically it contains (a) basic principles for a vital statistics system; (b) uses of vital statistics and civil registration records; (c) topics to be covered in a vital statistics system; (d) sources of vital statistics and how they function; (e) quality assurance in the vital statistics system and (f) strategies in improving civil registration and vital statistics systems in countries. It also informs policy makers and the general public on the importance of vital statistics and hence further improving the vital statistics system.



Population censuses and surveys as asource of vital statistics

There is no substitute for a well-designed and well-maintained civil registration system as a source of data on vital events for the production of vital statistics. However, as outlined in the introduction to part two (see paras. 276-278 above), a complete vital statistics system requires complementary data sources to enable the conduct of an in-depth analysis of population. Yet, in countries where civil registration is lacking, deficient or insufficiently reliable, alternative sources such as population censuses and household and demographic sample surveys are often used to gather information on the incidence of vital events and to estimate or calculate vital rates. Where civil registration is well established and well maintained, these sources of demographic data supplement civil registration by providing independent estimates of demographic parameters which can be used to evaluate the level of completeness of civil registration and vital statistics, and also constitute complementary repositories of demographic and health data. Moreover, population censuses are essential for providing the denominators necessary for calculating vital rates and ratios in combination with civil registration data (numerators). Civil registration data alone do not, therefore, establish the population at risk for the calculation of most vital statistics rates. In particular, the utilization of population census data, adjusted for any underenumeration and age misreporting, as denominators is indispensable when the civil registration system is not accompanied by a population register.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error