The sixth round of MICS includes 69 surveys from 61 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 information obtained through MICS surveys – on topics ranging from maternal and child health, education and child mortality to child protection, HIV/AIDS and water and sanitation – is fundamental to sound decision-making and advocacy. Countries also use MICS results to measure their progress towards goals such as the SDGs. In some countries, MICS is the only source of sound population-based data on children and women. In other countries, MICS alternates with other population-based surveys to produce data at higher frequency and is an indispensable component of the data ecosystem. In many countries, MICS is a major data source in national statistical plans. To learn more about the topics covered in MICS and the complete list of indicators, visit the Tools pages on mics.unicef.org.
To collect data, interviewers administer the household questionnaire as well as individual questionnaires to women and men aged 15 to 49 years, to mothers or caretakers of all children under 5 years of age, and a randomly selected child age 5-17. The number of topics covered has increased substantially over the years as demand for data has grown. In addition to collecting information on coverage indicators, MICS also explores knowledge of and attitudes to certain topics, and specific behaviors of women, men and children, enabling analysts to gain insights into factors that may affect women’s and children’s lives. MICS reports routinely disaggregate data by age, gender, education, wealth, location of residence, ethnicity and other stratifiers, in an effort to identify those left behind, and to shed light on disparities. Over the years, MICS developed and introduced novel topics such as assessment of numeracy and literacy skills of children age 7-14, water quality testing for E. coli, and measures of child functioning, early childhood development and social protection. A detailed summary paper describing MICS is available along with all the standard survey tools used from the beginning to the current round.
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. Subnational surveys, covering specific population groups (such as Palestinians in Lebanon) or specific geographical areas (such as selected regions of East in Afghanistan) within countries are also conducted.
Producers and sponsors
Bureau of Statistics
United Nations Children's Fund
Design of survey and technical support
Sample sizes vary greatly from one survey to the other, currently averaging around 12,000 households (for national surveys).
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. MICS6 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 standard tools and templates, as well as a series of workshops. Survey Design and Data Processing workshops were 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 was processed and analysis tables were produced, a Data Interpretation and Report Compilation workshop was organized at the country level, where results were discussed, and a draft final report was produced. Finally, countries were encouraged to attend regional or global Thematic Further Analysis workshops on various topics, including education and multi-dimensional poverty, where participants used MICS data to create novel analysis that go beyond the MICS final survey reports. Effective on-site/in-country support was provided by country MICS coordinators and UNICEF focal points, backed up by technical support from the regional and global MICS teams. High-quality data were obtained thanks to thorough and tested field procedures combined with rigorous data verification.
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 sixth round of MICS included six model questionnaires:
• Household Questionnaire
• Water Quality Testing Questionnaire
• The Questionnaire for Individual Women
• The Questionnaire for Individual Men
• The Questionnaire for Children Age 5-17 and
• 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.