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About the data

The data and analysis in this World Fit for Children statistical review are based on the ongoing work of UNICEF and its partners to monitor global conditions for children and women. Before the mid-1990s, critical gaps in data hindered accurate and effective analysis of the situation of children and women. Only 38 developing countries, for example, had data on whether malnutrition rates among children were rising or falling – a basic indicator of child health and well-being. To help countries fill these important data gaps and to enable monitoring of the 1990 World Summit for Children goals, UNICEF initiated the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) in 1995. MICS are designed to provide quantitative data on a wide range of topics, including child health and nutrition, child protection, education, maternal health, and HIV and AIDS.

Since 1995, nearly 200 MICS have been conducted in approximately 100 countries and territories. The current round of surveys, implemented in more than 50 countries during 2005–2006, provides data for 21 of the 53 Millennium Development Goal indicators. Together with the USAID-supported Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), with which the data are harmonized, this is the largest single source of MDG information. In addition, data collected through the latest round of MICS allow for new and more comprehensive assessments of the conditions under which children and women are living. These data allow us, for example, to report on quantitative indicators for child protection issues for the first time.

Data compilation

The data and analyses in this statistical review derive largely from information in UNICEF’s global databases, which include the wealth of data that has recently become available through household surveys (see map). The UNICEF global databases incorporate only statistically sound and nationally representative data from household surveys, including MICS and DHS, and are updated annually through a process that draws on data maintained by UNICEF’s network of field offices. The databases are publicly available at

Data analysis

A series of interagency MDG monitoring groups has been formed in recent years. These groups focus on developing new methodologies, indicators and monitoring tools, building statistical
capacity at the country level, developing joint estimates and harmonizing partners’ monitoring work. UNICEF leads or plays an active role in the interagency monitoring groups focused on the following areas: maternal and child mortality; water supply and sanitation; immunization; malaria; and HIV and AIDS. The joint estimates developed by these interagency monitoring groups are included in UNICEF’s global databases and are used to monitor progress towards international goals and targets, including the MDGs and the World Fit for Children commitments.