The fifth round of MICS includes 51 surveys from 39 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
Statistically sound and internationally comparable data are essential for developing evidence-based policies and programmes, as well as for monitoring countries’ progress toward national goals and global commitments. Since 1995, UNICEF has supported the implementation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), assisting countries in generating high quality data on the situation of children and women.
MICS enables countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection, water and sanitation and HIV and AIDS. For many countries, MICS surveys are among the most important sources of data used for situation analyses, policy decisions and programme interventions, and for influencing the public opinion on the situation of children and women.
During 2012-2015, UNICEF supported the fifth round of MICS surveys. MICS is generating information for over 20 MDG indicators and is, along with other nationally representative household surveys, critically important for final MDG reporting.
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 MICS5, subnational surveys, covering specific population groups (such as the Roma surveys in Eastern Europe) or specific geographical areas (such as the Nalaikh District in Mongolia) 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. MICS5 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
Through a technical collaboration framework, UNICEF provided technical support to MICS surveys at every stage of the survey process. Central to these efforts are a series of workshops. Survey Design and Data Processing workshops are organized at the regional or global level, prior to data collection, bringing together countries at the same stage of the survey process. Once fieldwork is completed, data is processed and analysis tables are produced, a regional or global Data Interpretation, Further Analysis and Dissemination workshop, where results are discussed, and a draft final report is produced. Effective on-site/in-country support is provided by country MICS coordinators and UNICEF focal points, backed up by technical support from the regional and global MICS teams. High-quality data are obtained thanks to thorough and tested field procedures combined with rigorous data verification.
Training for the fieldwork was conducted prior to data collection. Training typically included lectures on interviewing techniques and the contents of the questionnaires, and mock interviews between trainees to gain practice in asking questions. For CAPI surveys, the last few days of the training were devoted to familiarizing the enumerators with the data processing work processes and use of the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) application. For paper-based surveys data entry was carried out simultaneously with the fieldwork. Data were entered using the CSPro software. Procedures and standard MICS data processing and analysis applications developed under the global MICS4 programme were adapted to the country questionnaire and were used throughout data collection and analysis. Recorded data were used for survey monitoring on a daily basis. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software program, Version 19, and the model syntax and tabulation plans developed by UNICEF were used for this purpose. Data processing support was provided for the entire period of field work through the UNICEF Regional Office data processing consultants and through regular interaction with the data processing team at UNICEF HQs.
MICS questionnaires were designed by implementing agencies, typically the National Statistical Offices. In each country, MICS questionnaires were based on an assessment of the country’s data needs. The starting point were the standard MICS questionnaires designed by UNICEF’s Global MICS Team, in close coordination with experts, development partners and other international survey programmes. Countries chose from the MICS modules in the standard MICS questionnaires. UNICEF’s MICS experts supported implementing agencies to customize the questionnaires, as required, to the national setting. All survey activities, from sample and survey design, to fieldwork and report writing are carried out by the implementing agencies – with continuous technical support from UNICEF.
The fifth round of MICS included four model questionnaires:
(1) the Household Questionnaire,
(2) the Questionnaire for Individual Women age 15-49 years,
(3) the Questionnaire for Individual Men age 15-49 years, and
(4) the Questionnaire for Children Under Five.
The flexible, modular nature of MICS questionnaires makes it easy to remove modules which may not be relevant, and modules for which there is already good quality data from other sources.
Refer to tools page on mics.unicef.org for more detailed information on the flow of questionnaires and contents of the modules.
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.