Vital statistics are derived from information at the time when the occurences of vital events and their characteristics are inscribed in civil register for legal purposes.

Vital events are the births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, adoption, legitimation, recognition, annulment, legal separation, and all such events that have something to do with individual's entrance and departure from life together with the changes in civil status that may occur to a person during his lifetime.  Recording of these in the civil register is known as vital or civil registration and the resulting  documents are called vital records.

The Structure of Vital Statistics System

The production of vital statistics comprised of a system of operations in which the registration of vital events is an important component. The system begins with the registration of vital events followed by the processing and controlling of vital records and ends with the compilation and analysis of vital statistics.

Under Commomwealth Act (CA) 591, the Bureau of Census (now the National Statistics Office) is mandated to generate general purpose statistics and to carry out and administer Act 3753.

Under the same law, the head of the Bureau of Census is also the Civil Registrar General (CRG) who directs and supervises the local civil registration activities in the country.  The CRG in this regard is empowered to prepare and issue implementing rules and regulations on civil registration and to prescribe uniform and standard registration forms.

The set-up of vital statistics system involves different entities and cuts across different departments and personalities.

For the registration of vital events, the Local Civil Registry Offices (LCROs), which are the registration units in the country and headed by the City/Municipal Civil Registrars (C/MCRs), are under the Local Government Units (LGUs). The hospitals, clinics, rural health units and similar institutions including barangay secretaries, practicing physicians, midwives, nurses, traditional midwives, solemnizing officers from various religious sects and denomination are required to assist in the reporting of vital events for  registration at the LCROs.  The concernec parents, next of kin, contracting parties, a witness of the person who has full knowledge of occurence of the event are also required to report the event, in default of the first mentioned set of persons.

The processing and controlling of vital documents are done at the LCROs and at the NSO Provincial and Central Offices.

The compilation and analysis of vital statistics is taken of by the NSO Central Office under the Vital Statistics Division (VSD) of the Civil Registration Department.

Handling of documents through automated processing of data entry, data cleaning, file updating, and generation of preliminary tables at the LCRO level are done through the use of Civil Registry Information System (CRIS). However, only LCROs with computers are able to avail of the CRIS. At NSO level, the automation is made possible by the Decentralized Vital Statistics System (DVSS).

The Registration Method

All vital events that marked the entry and departure of a person in his lifetime and the changes in his/her civil status shall be registered.  The registration method is defined as the continous, permanent and compulsory recording of teh occurence and the characteristics of vital events, primarily for their value as legal document and secondarily for their usefulness as a source of statistics.

Place where to register the event

As a general rule, the place of registration is the LCRO of the city or municipality where the vital event occurs.

Forms to use

The civil register consists of certificates (see Appendix B) abd tge registry book.  It also includes the actual copies if the registrable court decisions and legal instruments concerning the civil status of persons.  The certificates are loose-leaf forms in a set of four copies except for Certificate of Foundling which is in a set of three.

Person who will report the event

The informant is the one who reports the event for registration and who gives information to be recorded in the civil register.

In case of live birth, the law requires the hospital or clinic administrator or his representative if the birth occurred elsewhere, the attendant who may either be a private physician, nurse, licensed midwife or traditional birth attendant makes the report. In default of the hospital authority or the attendant, the responsibility of reporting the birth devolves upon either or both parents, or upon a person who has full knowledge of the facts of birth and filiation of the child.

For death occurences, the report shall be made by the hospital or clinic administrator if the person dies in the hospital or clinic, or by the attending physician or by the nearest relative or by any interested party who has knowledge of the occurence of death.  In any case, the report shall be submitted to the Local Health Officer (LHO) who shall direct and order the C/MCR to enter the death in the civil register.

 In case of marriages, the solemnizing officer is required by law to report the event.  In default of the solemnizing officer, the duty is lodged upon the contracting parties.

Period when to report the event

Live births shall be reported for registration to the C/MCR not later than thirty (30)days afer the date of birth.

Death or fetal death shall be reported to the LHO within forty eight (48) hours from the time of  death and the LHO shall direct or cause the registration to the C/MCR not later than thirty (30)days from the date of death.

Marriages that require the issuance of marriage license shall be reported to C/MCR for registration not later than fifteen (15) days from date of marriage. However, for marriages that require a license for their validity such as marriage at the point of death (Article 27); marriages in remote places (Article 28); marriages between members of ethnic cultural community (Article 33); and marriages between men and women who have lived together for at least five (5) years (Article 34), shall be reported not later than thirty (30) days after date of marriage.

Any report made to the LCROs beyond the reglementary period are considered late and can be entered only in the civil register after the informant complies with the requirements of delayed registration.

Operative Act of Registration

The C/MCR sees to it that appropriate form is used; form is properly and completely filled-up; and proper attachments are submitted.  In case, the entries are found incomplete, the C/MCR has to require the person concerned to fill up the document completely or to correct the entries.

When tge document is accepted for registration, the date of receipt is recorded in the space provided and the documents received for the day are entered immediately in the appropriate civil registry book, assigning therein the corresponding registry number.

Distribution of registered documents

Upon registration, the C/MCR distributes the copies accordingly: the first copy to the informant; the second copy to the CRG; the third copy shall be retained by the LCRO; and the fourth copy to the attendant or to the  solemnizing officer, as the case may be.  The CRG copy is the source of vital statistics published in the report.

Definition of Terms and Concepts

Significant terminologies and descriptions in the foregoing highlights nad tables are defined below.  Included are some items found in the certificates and summary measures used in describing the facts and events.

  • Age Specific Fertility Rate (ASFR) -refers to the number of live births born to women of a given age or age group by the mid-year female population of the same age or age group during the same year. This refers to the average number of births per 1,000 females of a specific age group.
  • Birth order refers to the numerical order of a  child in relation to all previous pregnancies of the mother.
  • Birth weight is the first weight of the fetus or newborn obtained after birth.
  • Crude Birth Rate (CBR) refers to the number of live births per 1,000 midyear population.
  • Crude Death Rae (CDR) refers to the number of deaths per 1,000 midyear population.
  • Crude Marriage Rate (CMR) is a gross measure of the level of the relative frequency of marriages in an area for a given year. It expresses additions, by the formal means of legal marriage, being made to the married segment of the total population. This refers to the number of marriage per 1,000 midyear population.
  • Crude Rate of Natural Increase (CRNI) refers to the difference  between crude birth rate and crude rate.
  • Daily Average refers to the arithmethic mean of birth, death or marriage occurences per day
  • Daily Index is the increase/decreae from the overall daily average of event occurrences.
  • Death refers to the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after live birth has taken place (postnatal cessation of vital functions without capabiltiy of resuscitation).
  • Early neonatal death refers to death among live births during the first 7 days of life.
  • Fetal death refers to death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction of a product of conception from its mother, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy; the death is indicated by the fact that after such separation the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.
  • Infant mortality refers to death of infants under one year of age.
  • Infant Mortality Rage (IMR) refers to the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live birth in a given year.
  • Late fetal death refers to death of fetus 28 or more completed weeks of gestation.
  • Late neonatal death refers to deaths among live births after 7th day but before 20 completed days of life.
  • Live birth is the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cortd, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such a birth is considered liveborn.
  • Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.
  • Maternal mortality refers to the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.
  • Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) refers to the number of maternal deaths in a given year per 100,000 live births in that year.
  • Natural increase refers to the excess of births over deaths.
  • Neonatal mortality refers to deaths among live births during the first 28 completed days of life
  • Period of gestation refers to the number of completed weeks which have elapsed between the first day of the last normal menstrual period and the date of delivery irrespective of whether the product of conception was live-born or born without evidence of life.
  • Perinatal mortality refers to deaths of fetuses, weighing at least 500 grams or had 22 completed weeks of gestation, and infants 7 days of age.
  • Place of Occurrence refers to the place where the vital event took place.
  • Sex ratio refers to the number of males per one hundred females.
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) refers to the average number of children a woman would have by the time she reached age 50, if she were to experience the fertility schedule defined by the ASFRs from the start to the end of childbearing.
  • Usual Residence refers to the place where the person habitually or permanently resides.