Monitoring of vital events

Key civil registration statistics

Graveyard in Mexico
Health Metrics Network

An estimated 40 million births (one third of the world’s annual total) and 40 million deaths (two thirds of the world’s annual total) are not legally recognized by civil registration systems. There has been no appreciable progress in many countries.

No reliable data are available on causes of death for two thirds of the world's population.

Over three quarters of the uncounted are in sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Asia.

More than 100 countries do not have well-functioning civil registration systems.

"Most of the deaths that occur from malaria are in sub-Saharan Africa and, in many parts of Africa, it's incredibly challenging to gather data. In many villages that are remote and villages that aren't so remote, recording what people die from […] is very difficult and so, often, the numbers that we use are best estimates." ― Rob Mather, Founder of the Against Malaria Foundation, commenting in a 3 February 2012 BBC World Service interview on a new estimate of malaria mortality calculated from new data, more complex computer modelling and the reclassification of deaths wrongly attributed to other causes.

"Sometime this month, apparently, the world's population will reach 7 billion. In fact, precise UN experts tell us the magic number will be reached on October 31st. I am not clear what brand of scientific observation allows them to be so sure when any number of people already on the planet are unregistered and may not even know their own date of birth, let alone, have communicated it to some global bean counter. But I'll take the UN's word for it."― Imogen Foulkes, BBC, reporting for World Radio Switzerland.

Updated 3 February 2012