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Tabulation and generation of vital statistics for national policy

Principles for reference period and place

It is very important that the final statistical tabulation for a given year is based on events that actually occurred in the indicated calendar year, and not on those registered in that year but which occurred previously. The determination of the cut-off date for the annual data should be based on the legal length allowed to register each event – that is, if the law indicates that a birth has to be registered within 30 days, the cut-off point for the event occurring in the current year would be 30 days into the following year. 

The reported events should refer to the country’s resident population and tabulations for geographic subdivisions should be based on the usual residence, but tabulations based on occurrence should also be made for other purposes. 

Vital statistics are usually published by place of usual residence of either the decedent or, for births, by the residence of the mother. 

If, in generating the data, the aggregated data are altered more than they would be by normal data cleaning, it should be indicated in the explanatory notes and a copy of the raw data should be stored in the database.

In cases where time series are generated from historic data and presented, no major change in the trend should go unexplained or undocumented in the publication.

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