This study assesses the concordance of self-reported birth registration and certification completeness with completeness calculated from civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems data for 57 countries. These findings suggest that self-reported completeness figures over-estimate completeness when compared with CRVS data, especially at lower levels of completeness, partly due to over-reporting of registration by respondents. Estimates published by UNICEF should be viewed cautiously, especially given their wide usage.


  1. AbouZahr C, de Savigny D, Mikkelsen L, Setel PW, Lozano R, Nichols E, et al.. Civil registration and vital statistics: progress in the data revolution for counting and accountability. Lancet. 2015;386(10001):1373–85. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60173-8 

  2. Todres J. Birth registration: An essential first step toward ensuring the rights of all children. Human Rights Brief. 2003;10:32–5.

  3. UNICEF. Birth registration: a right from the start. Florence: UNICEF; 2002.


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