Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)
UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analyzing data in order to fill data gaps for monitoring the situation of children and women through its international household survey initiative the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).
Since the mid-1990s, the MICS has enabled many countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world. To learn more about MICS, watch our videos.
Results from MICS4 surveys, carried out in 2009-2011, will become available from 2010 onwards. MICS4 data will allow countries to better monitor progress toward national goals and global commitments, including twenty of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the target year 2015 approaches.
MICS1 - The MICS was originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals. The first round of MICS was conducted around 1995 in more than 60 countries.
MICS2 - A second round of surveys was conducted in 2000 (around 65 surveys), and resulted in an increasing wealth of data to monitor the situation of children and women. For the first time it was possible to monitor trends in many indicators and set baselines for other indicators.
MICS3 - The third round of MICS, which was carried out in over 50 countries in 2005-06, has been an important data source for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals with 21 MDG indicators collected through MICS3 (particularly indicators related to health, education and mortality). MICS3 was also a monitoring tool for other international goals including the World Fit for Children, the UNGASS targets on HIV/AIDS and the Abuja targets for malaria.
The MICS survey tools are developed by UNICEF after consultations with relevant experts from various UN organizations as well as with interagency monitoring groups. UNICEF works closely with other household survey programmes, in particular the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) programme, to harmonize survey questions and modules and to ensure a coordinated approach to survey implementation, with the objective to provide comparability across surveys and to avoid duplication of efforts. The survey questionnaires are modular tools that can be adapted to the needs of the country.
Implementation and capacity building
MICS surveys are typically carried out by government organizations, with the support and assistance of UNICEF and other partners. Technical assistance and training for the surveys is provided through a series of regional workshops where experts from developing countries are trained on various aspects of MICS (questionnaire content, sampling and survey implementation, data processing, data quality and data analysis, and report writing and dissemination).
Results from MICS, including national reports and micro level datasets, are widely disseminated after completion of the surveys and can be downloaded from the MICS pages on childinfo.org.
Increasing periodicity in MICS4
Starting with MICS4, UNICEF now provides assistance to countries at more frequent intervals - every three years instead of every five years. This provides the opportunity for countries to capture rapid changes in key indicators, particularly the MDGs.