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System of Vital Statistics


It is a whole set of detailed information about vital statistics in Brazil, which includes the Vital Statistics survey, carried out by the IBGE, the data matching between this database and the databases of the Ministry of Health (Information System on Live Births - SINASC and Information System on Mortality - SIM) and the respective estimates of underreporting of births and deaths. In order to do this, a more robust methodology to calculate underreporting was developed, based on the application of data matching methods and of the Capture-Recapture technique to estimate the total number of live births and deaths - major purpose of the partnership between the IBGE and the Ministry, which includes the availability of the identified microdata of the sources previously mentioned.

The gathering of these microdata allowed to firstly carry out the data matching of live births and deaths in each of these databases. Besides being an intermediate step to estimate the respective underreporting, the data matching pinpoints the areas with shortage of coverage of events in each database, thus allowing the implementation of policies aimed at improving the enumeration of vital events, improvement of the information systems and eradication of underreporting.

Having completed the data matching, a second step consisted of applying the Capture-Recapture technique to estimate the total number of live births and deaths occurred in a given year. Once estimated these totals, their respective underreportings were calculated. It is important to highlight that the method applied allows the calculation of the coverage of records of births and deaths from each system (IBGE and Ministry of Health), according to groups or specific characteristics of the population, provided that these characteristics are represented by the variables used in the model.

It should also be highlighted that the System of Vital Statistics is updated on an annual basis, yet, due to unavailability of the information from the Ministry of Health, the estimates of underreporting of births and deaths and data matching show a one-year gap in relation to the reference year of the Vital Statistics survey.

Vital Statistics

The survey investigates live births, marriages, deaths and fetal deaths informed by the Offices of Civil Registry of Natural Persons, as well as divorces registered in Family Courts, Forums, Civil Courts and Notary Public Offices in Brazil, which, according to Law no. 11,441, of January 4, 2007, began to register out-of-court divorces not involving minors or incapacitated persons.

The current system of civil registry resulted from Decree no. 70,210, of February 28, 1972, which transfered to the IBGE the responsibility for collecting and calculating such information, then surveyed by the Service of Demographic, Moral and Political Statistics of the Ministry of Justice. The Vital Statistics are published by the IBGE since 1974, providing a comprehensive set of information on vital facts and marriages. The data on separations and divorces were incorporated into the survey from 1984 onwards. Resolution no. 175, of May 14, 2013, of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), prohibited competent authorities to refuse the qualification, celebration of civil marriages or conversion of stable unions into marriages between same-sex persons. This Resolution allowed the IBGE to survey such records from that date onwards. It should be highlighted that the data on live births, deaths, fetal deaths and marriages in the state of São Paulo result from the covenant signed with the State System for Data Analysis Foundation (Seade), which collects and calculates this information.

The survey provides information on live births by age of mother at childbirth time, places of registration and residence of mother, month of registration; on deaths by year of occurrence, age and civil state at death date, places of occurrence, registration and residence of dead person, month of occurrence, nature of death; on fetal deaths, by duration of pregnancy, age of mother at delivery time, places of birth, registration and residence of mother, month of registration, type of pregnancy; on marriages by month of occurrence and registration, age at registration date, place of registration, previous civil state; and on divorces by age of spouses at date of filing the divorce or date of deed, place where the divorce was filed or the deed was signed, nature of the divorce suit, matrimonial property scheme, responsible for the custody of children, decree delivered, time between marriage date and decree or notarial deed and type of family of the couple.

The periodicity of the survey is annual. The geographic coverage is national, with results released for Brazil, Major Regions, Federation Units, Metropolitan Areas and sub-divisions, Municipalities of Capitals and Integrated Development Regions (RIDEs).

Estimate of Birth Underreporting

Underreporting of births and deaths corresponds to the set of vital events not registered in the legal deadline. Although certificates are free of charge, social and economic vulnerabilities, expenditure with transportation, large distance between local communities and the Offices of Civil Registry of Natural Persons, usually present in areas with higher population density, manage to hinder the access of some population segments to such services.

As of 2015, the IBGE began to release every year, together with the release of the Vital Statistics survey, the estimates of the total number of vital events (births and deaths) ascertained by the survey and, consequently, their respective underreportings, as well as the underreporting of these events based on the Information System on Live Births (SINASC) and on the Information System on Mortality (SIM), of the Ministry of Health. The estimates of underreporting of births and deaths take into account the events occurred and not registered up to the first quarter of the year after the year of its occurrence, meeting the legal deadline to register it. In the case of underreporting of births, the indicator is associated with the coverage of the civil registry without the incorporation of late records, being particularly important to signal how far is Brazil from meeting the basic requirement of recognizing newborn children as citizens and, consequently, strengthening public policies towards the increase of such records.

Data Matching

Aiming at assessing the Systems of Vital Statistics (IBGE´s Vital Statistics and Ministry of Health´s SINASC and SIM), measuring how many vital events (births and deaths) were reached by the respective systems is required. In order to do this, the Vital Statistics, SINASC and SIM data suffered a matching procedure. Besides being an intermediate step for the estimates of underreporting of births and deaths, the data matching pinpoints the areas with shortage of coverage of these events in each one of the databases.


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