Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in the Pacific

MICS has become the largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide.

02 February 2021

What is MICS?

Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is a standardized household survey tool. Since its inception in 1995, MICS has become the largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide. 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.

The information gathered assists countries in filling data gaps for monitoring the status of national development plans and global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the past 20 years, MICS has evolved to respond to the changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators of issues pertaining to children and women in the first round to 200 indicators in the current sixth round.


How does MICS help in the Pacific?

MICS is designed to collect statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of key indicators that are used to assess the situation of children and women in the areas of health (including reproductive health), education, child protection, domestic violence, and water and sanitation.

MICS generates data for monitoring progress towards achievement of national and global goals aimed at promoting the welfare of children including data for SDGs monitoring and Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) reporting.


What is the main goal of MICS in the Pacific?

The main objectives of MICS are:

  1. Collect social development data on health, nutrition, education, child protection, water and sanitation, human capital and well-being of children, women and men;
  2. Build capacity of national partners in data collection, compilation, processing, analysis and reporting on the situation of children, women and men; and
  3. Provide decision makers with evidence on the situation of children’s and women’s rights and other vulnerable groups in the Pacific.

The fourteen countries and territories included in this initiative are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.


What are the tools used in MICS?

A lot of useful tools are available on UNICEF’s MICS global website (, covering all stages of survey design, data collection, data processing, analysis, and reporting. Specifically, users could find questionnaires, indicators and definitions, sampling design, instructions for interviewers and instructions for supervisors, data editing guidelines, tabulation plans and corresponding Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) syntax files, etc. Even templates are provided for the survey findings report and statistical snapshots.


What innovations are being planned for MICS?

MICS Plus: With increasing ownership of mobile phones and expanding mobile phone network coverage, there is an unprecedented opportunity to use mobile phones to collect population-based data. MICS Plus is a method that capitalizes on this. MICS Plus uses the respondents of a regular MICS as the sampling frame. One or more representative sub-samples of respondents are selected, and data collection continues via phones, accumulating longitudinal data, which is quickly analysed and disseminated. This data is collected through short telephone interviews. MICS Plus is a different mode of data collection and does not replace MICS. It focuses on data gaps that are best measured with high frequency and which change seasonally (find details on

MICS Link: MICS and various administrative data systems (e.g. Education Management Information System, Health Management Information System) collect complementary information on different aspects of households and population. Linking MICS and administrative data will broaden analytical perspectives and contribute to the better understanding of the situation of households and population. The integration of different data collection systems can also substantially reduce the burden of survey data collection.


How can MICS Data be accessed and used? 

MICS data plays a significant role in formulating country policies on children and women, identification of vulnerable groups, and public advocacy for issues concerning children and women. MICS are typically coordinated by national governments with technical support from UNICEF. Countries have full ownership of MICS data. MICS reports and microdata with countries’ consent are freely open for legitimate research purposes, and research results on MICS data can be shared. Users can request/download data sets from the respective implementing agencies of countries or log on to to apply for data access and check published data of various countries.

Users can also access MICS survey findings reports, media reports, and videos, etc. on