Economic case for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems

The objective of this project is to articulate the economic argument and synthesize the evidence base that show that CRVS systems can provide a valuable return on investment for governments, multilateral and private sector stakeholders. Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems are a vital public administration component and contribute to good governance by protecting human rights and enabling access to basic public services. They also provide critical information – such as the number of people living in a country, the leading causes of death, fertility rates or life expectancy – which are needed by governments to effectively plan and deliver public services.


In recent years, there has been growing advocacy and awareness about the need to strengthen CRVS systems to support inclusive and sustainable development. While there is a substantial body of knowledge showing the benefits of a functioning CRVS system, the economic case for CRVS has not been adequately made in terms of cost savings and return on investment. This project seeks to address that gap.


Specifically, the economic case will address the three fundamental economic questions: 1) the “What” question (what CRVS systems are needed? 2) the “How” question (which system is more efficient - which production processes? 3) the For “Whom” question (who will benefit from the CRVS)? The first and second questions are related to the concept of efficiency—allocative and technical—while the third also addresses equity and fairness issues. The overall objective of the economic case will be to show how CRVS can maximize social benefits, taking into account distributional effects or equity.


This project will be implemented in 4 phases. First, a review of all existing evidence on both the cost and potential benefits of CRVS will be gathered and compiled in a systematic way. Existing examples of economic or investment cases will be used as a starting point. The results of this review will inform the first draft of the methodology for the economic case. Second, a stakeholder consultation will be convened to review the proposed methodology, define the foundations of the economic case, and reach consensus on the scope and methodological approach.  Third, the methodology will be applied and tested in at least two low and middle-income (LMIC) countries.  Finally, a series of papers will be written to describe the methodology to build an economic case for CRVS, and also the results of the country examples.


This project is closely aligned with SDG 16.9 – legal identity for all, including birth registration, as well as with the overall 2030 Development Agenda. [A1] The project contributes to CoE mandate on building evidence, creating a knowledge base for CRVS systems, as well to the advocacy component of the CoE.  

 [A1]Why is this project a good fit for the CoE?


Project Facts