The third round of MICS includes 53 surveys from 51 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
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is a household survey programme developed by UNICEF to assist countries in filling data gaps for monitoring human development in general and the situation of children and women in particular. MICS is capable of producing statistically sound, internationally comparable estimates of social indicators. The current round of MICS is focused on providing a monitoring tool for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Fit for Children (WFFC), as well as for other major international commitments, such as the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS and the Abuja targets for malaria.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey has as its primary objectives:
To provide up-to-date information for assessing the situation of children and women in the country;
To furnish data needed for monitoring progress toward goals established by the Millennium Development Goals and the goals of A World Fit For Children (WFFC) as a basis for future action;
To contribute to the improvement of data and monitoring systems in the country and to strengthen technical expertise in the design, implementation and analysis of such systems.
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 and provincial levels, and for urban and rural areas. In MICS3, subnational surveys, covering specific population groups (such as the Palestinians in Lebanon) or specific geographical areas (such as the Eastern province in Kenya) within countries were also conducted.
Producers and sponsors
Bureau of Statistics
United Nations Children's Fund
Design of survey and technical support
The sample for the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) was designed to provide estimates on a large number of indicators on the situation of children and women at the national level, for areas of residence, and for geographical locations, such as regions, governorates, or districts. A multi-stage, stratified cluster sampling approach was typickly used for the selection of the survey sample. MICS3 surveys are not self-weighting. For reporting national level results, sample weights were used. A more detailed description of the sample design can be found in Appendix A of Final Report.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
MICS surveys are carried by governments. UNICEF and other partners support and assist governments in implementing the survey. Technical assistance and training for the surveys was provided through a series of regional workshops, covering questionnaire content, sampling and survey implementation; data processing; data quality and data analysis; report writing and dissemination.
Fieldwork was typically 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. Data was entered using the CSPro software. In order to ensure quality control, all questionnaires were entered twice and internal consistency checks were performed. Procedures and standard programmes developed under the global MICS3 project and adapted to the country specific questionnaire were used throughout. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software programme, Version 14, and the model syntax and tabulation plans developed by UNICEF.
Available reports and micro datasets can be found on https://mics.unicef.org/surveys.
Standard MICS3 questionnaires were designed in a modular fashion that was customized to the needs of the country. They consist of three sets of questionnaires: 1) a household questionnaire which was used to collect information on all de jure household members, the household, and the dwelling; 2) a women’s questionnaire administered in each household to all women aged 15-49 years; and 3) an under-5 questionnaire, administered to mothers or caretakers of all children under 5 living in the household. The questionnaires included the following modules:
The Household Questionnaire included the following modules:
o Household Listing
o Water and Sanitation
o Security of Tenure/Durability of Housing
o Malaria-related questions
o Child Labour
o Child Discipline
o Maternal Mortality
o Salt Iodization
The Questionnaire for Individual Women was administered to all women aged 15-49 years living in the households, and included the following modules:
o Child Mortality
o Tetanus Toxoid
o Maternal and Newborn Health
o Marriage and Union
o Security of Tenure
o Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence
o Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
o Sexual Behaviour
o HIV knowledge
The Questionnaire for Children Under Five was administered to mothers or caretakers of children under 5 years of age living in the households. Normally, the questionnaire was administered to mothers of under-5 children; in cases when the mother was not listed in the household roster, a primary caretaker for the child was identified and interviewed. The questionnaire included the following modules:
o Birth Registration and Early Learning
o Child Development
o Vitamin A
o Care of Illness
Questionnaires for each survey are based on the MICS3 model questionnaire. From the MICS3 model version, the questionnaires were translated into local languages and were pre-tested in different locations. Based on the results of the pre-test, modifications were made to the wording and translation of the questionnaires. A copy of the country specific MICS questionnaires is provided in Appendix F of Final Report.
Frequently, in addition to the administration of questionnaires, fieldwork teams tested the salt used for cooking in the households for iodine content, and measured the weights and heights of children age under 5 years. Details and findings of these measurements are provided in the respective sections of the final report.
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.