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What is CRVS and why does every country need it?

The benefits and beneficiaries of CRVS systems

Legal benefits 

Individuals can have their existence, identity, and vital events legally recognised, and obtain proof of these legal statuses through valid certificates. This enables people to exercise their civil rights (for example, the right to vote), to secure protection (for example, against child labour or marriage by having proof of age), and to access services (for example, health care, education, social security and cash transfers for the poor). Thus, CRVS serves as an important instrument through which fundamental human rights that are professed in international declarations and conventions are demonstrated in legal ways. 

Administrative benefits

Governments can gather more accurate and up-to-date information about their populations and therefore offer targeted services. Because CRVS can inform about the condition and needs of small groups of people on a continuous basis, it provides valuable information that can be used for designing, implementing, and evaluating various services, ranging from health, social and protection services, to research and more.

As governments, institutions and businesses (for example, banks and insurance companies) increasingly process data and provide services electronically, linking CRVS with other administrative databases offers great advantages of reducing the response burden on the and allowing institutions to exchange and manage data more efficiently. 

A key benefit of the CRVS system is that it provides the foundation for the development of a national population register as well as a system of unique identification. This permits the creation and updating of numerous administrative databases such as electoral registries, land and vehicle registries. 

Statistical benefits

Universal and continuous coverage of all vital events occurring in the country prevents sampling error and certain types of response error that are common in other sources of vital statistics such as household surveys. Also, statistical analysis of disaggregated population data at any level (for example, national, provincial, and district levels) is possible, enabling better monitoring of population movements, demographic changes, potential health threats and so on. Well-functioning CRVS systems provide data that are up-to-date and reliable, and that can be compared against other data, such as those collected through population census and field surveys.

Recording every life event provides an opportunity to produce the most accurate, complete and timely statistics on the health and demographics of a population. Knowing how many people live in the country, the leading causes of death, fertility rates and life expectancy, enhances administration and provides decision makers with information to better respond to the needs of society through more effective, efficient and directed policies at national and local levels. This data allows the government to identify policy priorities across multiple sectors, particularly health.

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