The second round of MICS includes 65 surveys from 62 countries
Since its inception in the mid-1990s, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys programme, known as MICS, has become the largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on children and women worldwide. In countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Thailand, Fiji, Qatar, Cote d’Ivoire, Turkmenistan and Argentina, trained fieldwork teams conduct face-to-face interviews with household members on a variety of topics – focusing mainly on those issues that directly affect the lives of children and women. MICS is an integral part of plans and policies of many governments around the world, and a major data source for more than 30 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators. The MICS programme continues to evolve with new methodologies and initiatives, including MICS Plus, MICS Link, MICS GIS and the MICS Tabulator.
Unit of Analysis
A practical tool for collecting data, the MICS survey was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Statistics Division, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By 1996, 60 developing countries had carried out a stand-alone MICS, and another 40 had incorporated some of the MICS modules into other surveys.
The experience gained since 1993, particularly with the mid-decade MICS, has been used to modify the indicators in the initial set. Second, a small set of additional indicators has been added to provide a broader base from which to measure progress during the next decade. They include some additional indicators to monitor child rights as well as some of the newly emerging programme concerns such as the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) initiative, malaria, and knowledge of HIV/AIDS.
The majority of MICS surveys are designed to be representative at the national level. Sample sizes are sufficient to generate robust data at the regional or provincial levels, and for urban and rural areas. In MICS2, subnational surveys, covering specific population groups (such as the Palestinians in Lebanon) or specific geographical areas (such as the Selected Regions of East in Afghanistan) within countries were also conducted.
Producers and sponsors
Bureau of Statistics
United Nations Children's Fund
Design of survey and technical support
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is a nationally representative survey of households, women, and children. The main objectives of the survey were to provide up-to-date information for assessing the situation of children and women at the end of the decade and to furnish data needed for monitoring progress toward goals established at the World Summit for Children and as a basis for future action.
The sample for the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) was typically designed to provide estimates of health indicators at the national level, for areas of residence, and for geo levels such as regions, or districts. The sample was usually selected in two stages. Habitually, MICS samples are not self-weighting. For reporting national level results, sample weights were used. Full technical details of the sample are included in Appendix A of the Final Report.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
UNICEF provided technical support to the MICS surveys with the aim to contribute to the improvement of country’s data and monitoring systems and to strengthen technical expertise in the design, implementation, and analysis of such systems. UNICEF prepared guidelines and templates to facilitate planning and design of the surveys and support data collection, data processing and report writing. The software packages that have been used to produce standard programs for processing MICS surveys are: Epi Info, SPSS, IMPS, and ISSA. The procedures and standard programmes developed by UNICEF and adapted to the country specific questionnaires were used throughout the survey process.
Fieldwork was conducted by teams of interviewers, editors, measurers and supervisors. A detailed description of team composition and specific tasks is provided in the final report. Data entry and validation were carried out simultaneously with data collection. As per the MICS survey manual recommendation typically two country reports be produced, an early preliminary report, and a more comprehensive final report. Available reports and micro datasets can be found on https://mics.unicef.org/surveys.
MICS questionnaires were designed by implementing agencies, typically the National Statistical Offices. In each country, MICS questionnaires are based on an assessment of the country’s data needs. The starting point were the standard MICS questionnaires designed by UNICEF, in close coordination with expert and development partners. Countries chose from the MICS modules in the model MICS questionnaires. Like the mid-decade MICS questionnaire, this questionnaire is modular, so that countries may choose among indicators.
Indicators for 19 of the 27 World Summit for Children (WSC) goals could be monitored with a multiple indicator survey. Each goal had a quantified target to be reached by the year 2000.The end-decade standard MICS questionnaire and accompanied manual have been developed specifically to obtain the data for 63 of the 75 end-decade indicators. They also supported survey coordinators and technical resource persons to decide which indicators will be measured with the survey, what information to collect, design a good questionnaire, make logistic arrangements and carry out fieldwork.
Flow of standard questionnaire modules:
Part I. Household questionnaire
Household information panel
Household listing (all residents) and orphanhood questions (birth to 14)
Education module: educational attainment (age 5 and over), school attendance (age 5-17)
Child labour module (age 5-14)
Optional maternal mortality module (all adults 15 years and over)
Water and sanitation module (all households)
Salt iodization module (all households)
Optional child disability module (2-9-year-olds)
Part II. Questionnaire for individual women (women of reproductive age, 15-49)
Women’s information panel (all eligible women)
Child mortality (all eligible women)
Tetanus toxoid (all mothers with last birth within last year)
Maternal and newborn health (all mothers with last birth within last year)
Contraceptive use module (currently married women, 15-49)
HIV/AIDS (all women, 15-49)
Part III. Questionnaire for children under five
Birth registration and early learning module
Vitamin A module
Care of illness module
Malaria module (for high-risk areas)
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.