Using census microdata to estimate maternal mortality: South Africa 2001

Robert McCaa, University of Minnesota
Michel Garenne, Institut Pasteur
Kourtoum Nacro, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Census microdata constitute the principal source of data for measuring progress toward this goal because of their national coverage, their large sample size, and their capacity to produce estimates with a precise time reference. For the 2010 round of population censuses, many statistical agencies are planning to include a module on mortality, particularly maternal mortality. The paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of census microdata in measuring maternal mortality from a case study. The 2001 census of South Africa included a question on maternal causes for deaths of women in their reproductive ages occurring in the past 12 months. Maternal mortality estimates derived from the 2001 census will be compared to other estimates, from the Demographic and Health Surveys, from the Vital Registration Statistics, and from Demographic Surveillance Systems located in rural areas (Agincourt, Hlabisa). Implications for estimating maternal mortality from census microdata will be discussed.

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Presented in Session 28: Methodological issues in estimating maternal mortality