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Table 1 Pros and cons of data sources for vital statistics

From: Economic analysis of producing vital statistics using civil registration data in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Data source Attributes
Population-based surveys In countries where civil registration is not complete and accurate, population-based surveys such as the Demographic and Health Surveys or Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys are employed. However, these surveys have limitations, such as not having the ability to provide the full range of vital statistics, having higher sampling errors since it uses a sample of the population, not being able to provide data for monitoring at lower administrative levels such as districts, and lacking yearly data since they are carried out every 3 to 5 years. Other drawbacks are cost and operational requirements to conduct these types of surveys.
Civil registration Civil registration, when complete, provides all data for vital statistics pertaining to births, deaths, marriages, and divorces on a yearly basis; it provides disaggregated data at lower administrative levels and for subgroups of the population. Unlike population-based survey and population census, civil registration provides continuous stream of data at the lowest administrative levels and for the whole population.
Population census Like civil registration, population census provides disaggregated data, but because the census is typically done every 10 years, projections which are not entirely accurate are used in the intercensal years, and it does not provide data on maternal deaths unless verbal autopsy is incorporated. Provides cross-sectional data for the whole population every decade.