Chapter 3: Using civil registration records for vital statistics

Leveraging their progresses in civil registration completeness, many countries have started analyzing data from civil registration records to produce reliable and timely population and vital statistics. These statistics underpin at least 67 of the SDG indicators, as well as necessary for the disaggregation of all the population-based indicators.  

Goal 3 of the Regional Action Framework focuses on the production and dissemination of accurate, complete and timely vital statistics on births, deaths and cause of death based on registration records. It has five targets directly linked to the production and dissemination of vital statistics from civil registration records.

Among reporting countries, 32 with high civil registration completeness were using birth and death registration records for vital statistics. However, 17 countries have yet to achieve their target of using registration records for vital statistics and disseminating them in the public domain but most still aim to do by the end of the Decade. These countries are in South and South-West Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Timeliness and accessibility are key to the usability of vital statistics. Nearly all countries which produce vital statistics reports publish the relevant tabulations within one calendar year. Many countries are going further than the targets of the Regional Action Framework and releasing key vital statistics such as the number of births or deaths on a quarterly or monthly basis. This trend towards more timely releases was further enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic as there was increased demand for the most up-to-date information on excess mortality.