Civil registration and vital statistics

The only way we can be prepared to understand how rapidly and what parts of the population are being affected by diseases and their risk factors, in a sustainable way, is through fully functioning civil registration and vital statistics systems with correct medical certification of every cause of death.
Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean

In most countries, a civil registration system is used to record statistics on “vital events”, such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces and fetal deaths. This government administrative system creates a permanent record of each event.

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A baby being held next to a computer. The baby's image is reflected on the screen of the computer.

Network and partners

Regional network

International partners

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention trainees

University of Queensland, School of Population Health

Other CRVS websites

WHO/ HQ CRVS web page



Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific 24-28 November 2014 Bangkok, Thailand - More information

Eastern Mediterranean Region CRVS assessment

Civil registration systems are used to record vital events, including births, deaths, and marriages. They have the potential to serve as the main source of national vital statistics. However, in many developing countries, civil registration and vital statistics systems are weak or nonexistent; as a result, key demographic, fertility and mortality statistics are not available on a continuous basis and do not cover large segments of the population.

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Rapid assessments

Before undertaking a detailed CRVS review, it is useful to first carry out a rapid assessment to quickly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current CRVS system. The results of this rapid assessment could then be used to make the case for a more detailed comprehensive assessment.

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Countries' rapid assessments

Comprehensive assessments

The detailed assessment tool reviews the main aspects of the civil registration and vital statistics systems. These include the legal and regulatory framework; registration, certification and coding practices; and the compilation, tabulation and use of the resulting data. The tool comprises both a roadmap, which outlines the main steps in conducting the review, starting with the formation of a review committee of key stakeholders, and an assessment framework, which serves as a template for the detailed review.

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Countries' comprehensive assessments


Joint WHO –EMRO/Arab league CRVS meeting 20-22 May 2014

Regional stakeholder meeting on strengthening civil registration and vital statistics
Cairo, Egypt, 7–8 May 2013

Workshop on civil registration and vital statistics workshop
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 January–1 February 2013

Information resources


Carla Abou Zahr: why crvs mattersCarla Abou Zahr: Why CRVS matters?

Carla Abou Zahr: CRVS journeyCarla Abou Zahr: CRVS journey

Background documents

Regional committee document
Regional strategy for the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics systems
English - Arabic - French 

Regional committee resolution
Regional strategy for the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics systems 2014–2019
English - Arabic - French 


Regional strategy for the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics systems 2014-2019

Improving mortality statistics through civil registration and vital statistics systems - strategies for country and partners support

WHO application of ICD-10 for initial low resources cause of death collection

Handbook on civil registration and vital statistics systems - preparation of a legal framework

Principles and recommendations for a vital statistics system - revision 3

Fundamental principles of official statistics

Rapid assessment of national civil registration and vital statistics systems [pdf 962.31kb]
Arabic | French  

CRVS comprehensive assessment [pdf 1.71Mb]
Arabic | French

CRVS resource kit

Strategic planning to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics systems: Guidance for using findings from a comprehensive assessment [pdf] Arabic [pdf 389kb]

Complex Story Research
Infographic / Research

Emergencies report

Press releases

Complex Story press release

Birth Registration in Emergencies press release

Related links

Regional Health Observatory

Glossary of terms

Civil Registration and Identification Glossary

ICD-10 Interactive Self Learning Tool

ICD-10 Online Certification Training

University Of Queensland Handbook for Physicians on Certification of Death