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Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey – Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women in Serbia Suggests Progress

© UNICEF Serbia/Media Center
From left to right: Dragan Vukmirovic, Ph.D., Director of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, Judita Reichenberg, UNICEF Area Representative, Dragana Djokovic Papic, Head of the Division for Social Indicators, Justice and Gender statistics o

Preliminary statistical data suggest progress, but also show disparities and need to introduce measures particularly targeting most vulnerable and socially excluded children

Belgrade, 14 July 2011 – Preliminary results of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey – Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women in Serbia (MICS4) suggest visible progress in most areas, including health of women and children, early childhood development, education. The progress is notable both on the national level and among the Roma living in Roma settlements, but disparities are still present requiring continuous investment and measures targeting most vulnerable children. The full report with final data will be available in late autumn. 

“Data are indispensable for a country to be able to assess to what degree it has been successful in providing conditions essential for the wellbeing of mother and child. It is not sufficient to have the national averages, since they hide facts about various vulnerable groups. These data clearly substantiate that inclusion measures targeting the poorest and socially excluded children have brought about the critical, high priority results. But their position is still below the national average, and there are also other areas which have to be paid more attention to in the future. I hope therefore that these precious data will be used for informed decision making”, stated Mrs. Judita Reichenberg, UNICEF Area Representative to Serbia.

• Child mortality: Mortality of children in Roma settlements has been halved in comparison with the period of five years ago, according to preliminary data. This is a great progress, but the rate is still twice the national average – 7 percent in the general population versus 14 percent in the Roma settlements for infants, and 8 versus 15 percent for children under the age of 5.
• Women’s health: Coverage of women during pregnancy has been increased, with a high rate of deliveries in health care institutions for women aged 15 to 49.
 Health and nutrition of children: The number of stunted children in Serbia has a mildly rising trend, which may result from genetic factors when mild to moderate stunting is concerned, or inappropriate nutrition over extended periods or chronic diseases in more severe cases. The percentage of children exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life has been reduced since 2005. In the Roma settlements as many as 40 percent of children under the age of two do not receive milk twice a day, which is necessary for their good development.
• Preschool education: Coverage of children aged 3 to 5 years by preschool education has increased in comparison with the previous period. Nevertheless, still only 44 percent of children in Serbia attend the pre-school programs. And the differences are immense. The higher the social status, the percentage of kindergarten attendance is higher.  In poor families, the percentage reaches only a half of the national average, and for Roma children it is extremely low – only 8 percent.
• Involvement of adults: Adults are now more involved in activities stimulating early development of children than in 2005, with markedly increased involvement of the fathers has been noted (as much as 78 percent).• Accessibility of books for children: Three quarters of children under five in Serbia have at least three children’s books. It is, however, of concern that about 20 percent of households with children under five do not have a single children’s book.
• Primary education: Percentage of Roma school-age children that currently attend the first grade has increased by 25 percent over the last five years. Disparities between the general population and poorest Roma children are marked at enrollment, even more prominent in attendance as well as in the percentage of children completing primary education. 
• Early marriage:  As many as 14 percent of Roma girls aged 15 to 19 get married before the age of 15, and one third get their first child before turning 18.  This situation is reflected in attendance rate in primary school by girls from Roma settlements who usually leave school at or about the age of 12. 
• Child discipline: Less than 30 percent of children are brought up exclusively non-violent methods. But as many as two thirds of children aged 2 to 14 have experienced a kind of psychological aggression or physical violence, where the phenomenon is more common among children from Roma communities.
• HIV Prevention: Three out of four women aged 15 to 49 in Serbia know where to be tested for HIV, but the increase is only minor (4 percent) in comparison with 2005. Knowledge on testing has been increased by as much as 8 percent among the Roma women. But the total percentage of women who are actually tested is still very low (10 percent).


© UNICEF Serbia/Zoran Jovanovic Maccak

“These are some of the preliminary data obtained through this Survey, an important source of information on the status of children and women in Serbia. The Survey was conducted in 2010 at the national sample of 6,800 households and 1,800 households in Roma settlements. It contains some new indicators, filling in the gaps in the existing data. We are currently working on the refinement of these preliminary findings. Final cross-checked and more precise data will be available in the autumn,” said Prof. Dr. Dragan Vukmirovic, Director of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

About the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS)

MICS is a global survey conducted in 5-year intervals ever since 1995 and has been used in 100 countries worldwide. MICS4 provides data relating to position and attitudes of children and women, as well as key indicators monitoring progress of respective countries pursuant to the Millennium Development Goals and other national and international strategies. For more information on the global MICS project, please visit

In 2010 the Survey was conducted by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). MICS data and database are of vital importance for the Serbian Government for establishing priority measures and targeted allocations of the budgetary resources.

For additional information, please contact:

UNICEF: Jadranka Milanovic, Communication Officer, tel. (011) 3602 100;

Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia: Sanja Aksentijevic, PR department,   tel: (011) 2401 284; 

Presentation can be downloaded here



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