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The purpose of this report is to provide a brief overview of the civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system in Madagascar.

The information was collected by a desk review of publicly available documents pertaining to civil registration and vital statistics in Madagascar. Among other things, the report presents:

  • Background information on the country;
  • Selected indicators relevant for CRVS improvement processes;
  • Stakeholders’ activities; and
  • Resources available to strengthen CRVS systems.

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Madagascar's Profile

Disclaimer: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Country profile

Madagascar is situated in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa and is the fourth largest island in the world. It shares a maritime border with Comoros, France (Mayotte island, Reunion), Mozambique, and Seychelles.

The administrative structure in MadagascarHumanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). 2018. Madagascar administrative level 0‒4 population statistics.  consists of 22 regions, 119 districts, 1,579 communes (municipalities), and 17,465 fokontany. A fokontany is a political-administrative subdivision equivalent to a village or group of villages in Madagascar.





(2020 estimated)Institut National de la Statistique (INSTAT). Madagascar en chiffre. 2020.  

2.6%Banque mondiale, Croissance de la population (% annuel) – Madagascar.



Capital City
Official working language(s)
Malagasy and French
Ministry responsible for civil registration
Ministry responsible for civil registration
Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization (Ministère de l’Intérieur et de la Décentralisation) and the Ministry of Justice
Civil registration agency
National statistical office
National Institute of Statistics (Institut National de la Statistique, INSTAT)

CRVS Dimensions


Completeness of birth registration



2018Institut National de la Statistique (INSTAT). 2018. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey-6 (MICS-6). Madagascar.

Children under 5 whose births were registered




Births attended by skilled health professionals




Women aged 15-49 who received antenatal care from a skilled provider




DPT1 immunization coverage among 1-year-olds




Crude birth rate (per 1,000 population)



2018World Bank. 2018. Birth rate, crude (per 1,000 people).

Total fertility rate (live births per woman)



2018Index Mundi. 2018. Madagascar Demographics Profile 2019.

Adolescent fertility rate (per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years)



2018World Bank. 2018. Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15‒–19) – Madagascar.

Population under age 15



2018Index Mundi. 2018.



Completeness of death registration

Not available

Crude death rate (per 1,000 population)



2018World Bank. 2018. Death rate, crude (per 1,000 people).

Infant mortality rate (probability of dying by age 1 per 1,000 live births)



2018Institut National de la Statistique (INSTAT). 2018.

Under five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1,000 live births)




Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births)



2017Index Mundi. 2017.


Marriages and divorces

Marriage registration rate

Not available

Women aged 20-24 first married or in union before age 15



2018Institut National de la Statistique (INSTAT). 2018.

Women aged 20-24 first married or in union before age 18




Divorce registration rate

Not available

Vital statistics including causes of death data

Compilation and dissemination of CR-based statistics

Not available

Medically certified causes of death data

Limited informationMasquelier, B. et al. 2019. Estimating cause-specific mortality in Madagascar: an evaluation of death notification data from the capital city. BioMed Central (BMC). articles/10.1186/s12963-019-0190-z


Civil registration system

Legislative Framework

In 2018, the law that governs civil registration was updated and upgraded. At the same time, a comprehensive review of the relevant Malagasy laws and regulations was undertaken to ensure coherence with the legal framework for civil registration and compliance with good international practices. Madagascar has a decentralized civil registration system, with no central depository of records. One key element of the new law is the creation of a National Civil Registration and Identification Center.

Management, organization and operations



National CRVS systems coordination mechanisms

Madagascar has a national CRVS coordination committee (Secrétariat Permanent du CNC-CRVS), which is managed by the Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization.

The committee members are in Table 1.

Madagascar is part of the Africa Programme on Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (APAI-CRVS). In 2017, an APAI-CRVS assessment was completed and contributed to the development of a national strategy to improve civil registration and vital statistics. This strategy, along with the World Bank’s ID4D Country Diagnostic report on Madagascar from the same year, contributed to the national civil registration reform the country is currently undertaking.

Administrative level registration centres

Registration of vital events is decentralized and carried out at the municipal level, with health clinics and fokontany providing notifications, as illustrated in Figure 1 for birth registration. In certain cases, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of National Defence may also provide notification of a vital event.

Madagascar has a decentralized civil registration system. As described in a World Bank report:

“The responsibility for civil registration in Madagascar is divided between the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice. Registration tasks are generally carried out by the municipalities [communes], who have designated staff working in their registration offices to deliver the service to the citizens. Madagascar uses a two-book system for any registration of a vital event; i.e. each type of event has a separate book. Local trial courts (Tribunaux de Première Instance) receive a copy of all registry records from within their jurisdiction. In addition, if a child’s birth is not registered within the legally mandated 12 [increased to 30 in the new law] days, the registration must be processed through the trial courts, which adds costs and incurs further delays. The acts of birth and death registration, as well as the original copy of the respective certificates, are supposed to be free of charge.”World Bank. 2017. ID4D Country Diagnostic: Madagascar, Washington, DC, page 9.

Accessibility of civil registration services

Many households are located less than 1 km from the nearest fokontany office, where parents may provide notification of a birth if it has occurred at home. However, there are no data readily available on how near or far people live from municipal registration offices.

Backlog of unregistered births

The backlog of unregistered births is 22 percent. Birth registration is 78 percent, according to Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey-6. Of these, 63 percent have collected the birth certificate for the child.

Sample registration forms

The notification and registration of vital events is carried out manually or, in a few cases, by computer. However, these are not connected to any network beyond the office.

Sample registration forms are not available to include in this report. As part of the new civil registration law and sector reform, new notification and registration forms will be used. The forms can be used for on-site electronic recording, or in places that are not connected, the forms can be filled out manually and the data entered into the database at a central office.

Registration fee

Registration of vital events and the first copy of the certificate for birth, marriage, and death registration are free, according to the law. However, in practice, some civil registration offices charge even for the first certificate (Table 2). Penalties are charged for late registration of births and deaths.

Interface with other sectors and operations

There is no electronic interface between the civil registration sector and other sectors. Such interfaces depend on digitization of vital events records in a centralized civil registration database, which is currently under consideration as part of a planned World Bank financed project.

Vital statistics system

Vital statistics

INSTAT, the National Institute of Statistics, was created in 1947. The most recent update of its legal framework was in 2018 (Loi no 2018-004 du 18 avril 2018 Relative à l’organisation et à la réglementation des activités statistiques).

Vital statistics are not produced with input from the civil registration processes, so they are collected, compiled, and disseminated from surveys. The latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the MICS-6, was carried out in 2018. As part of the civil registration reform, vital statistics will be collected and compiled automatically.

Causes of death

Deaths must be notified to the commune, which then issues a burial permit, but does not inform INSTAT. The commune issues a death certificate without cause of death. Health facilities lack standardized death notification forms and do not systematically use the World Health Organization International Form of Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. About 40 percent of deaths occur in hospitals, according to a 2019 study.Masquelier, B. et al. 2019.

Deaths that occur at home are reported to the fokontany and family members provide information about cause of death.


When the National Civil Registration and Identification Centre is established, a central database for civil registration records will be set up. The decentralized registration offices will be linked to this database to simultaneously carry registration and insert a unique identity number from birth and issue a corresponding certificate.


The registration of births, marriages, and deaths in Madagascar continues to be paper-based, but there are plans for digitizing records, creating a centralized database, and making broader use of computers and networking.

Online registration services

Madagascar does not currently offer online registration services.

Mobile technology application

There are no mobile technology applications in place for notification or registration of vital events. However, there are plans to use mobile technology in the future.

Unique identification number

As outlined in the new law and as part of the planned modernization of the civil registration system, Madagascar will introduce a unique identification number. It is one of the activities in the planned modernization project financed by the World Bank.

Digitization of historical registration records

Upon the planned modernization of the civil registration system, Madagascar will create a database for civil register records once the format of the unique identification number (UIN) has been determined. Existing civil registration records will be retrofitted with a UIN and digitized. The extent of the digitization of historical records (i.e., how far back they will go) has yet to be determined.

Link with identification system

At this point, civil registration and civil identification are not linked, but there are concrete plans to do so under the planned modernization project financed by the World Bank.

Improvement initiatives and external support

Improvement plan and budget

Budget allocations and requirements

Madagascar has had a strategic plan to improve CRVS systems since 2017, and has already implemented some of the activities, such as revising and upgrading the legal framework for civil registration and vital statistics. The budgetary needs for this plan have not been detailed.

Activities identified as high priorities

The prioritized activities identified in the current national CRVS improvement plan are the following:

  • Upgrade legal frameworks and revise implications for other relevant laws and regulations;
  • Improve and harmonize the instruments for civil registration;
  • Build capacity for human resources and the upgrading of infrastructure; and
  • Improve statistical capacity and the production and quality of vital statistics.

Support from development partners

The development partners that provided support to the civil registration and vital statistics systems improvement initiative in Madagascar are listed in Table 3. The development partners meet with some frequency to ensure ongoing communication about current and planned activities. UNICEF acts as the secretariat for this group.

Table 3

Additional Materials


Additional materials

Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). search_source=main-nav&page=1

Institut National de la Statistique (INSTAT). 2018. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey-6. Madagascar.

Masquelier, B. et al. 2019. Estimating cause-specific mortality in Madagascar: an evaluation of death notification data from the capital city. BioMed Central (BMC). pophealthmetrics.biomedcentral. com/articles/10.1186/s12963-019-0190-z

Ministère de L’intérieur et de la décentralisation. 2017. Rapport d’évaluation des systèmes d’enregistrement des faits d’état-civil et d’établissement des statistiques de l’état-civil. Evaluation%20CRVS%202017.pdf

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human Development Report 2019.

World Bank Group. 2017. ID4D Country Diagnostic: Madagascar. en/809191510763351833/ID4D-Country- Diagnostic-Madagascar.pdf


Madagascar has had an organized civil registration system since the 1890s, and has a 78 percent birth registration rate. Madagascar ranks 162 out of 189 countries on the UN’s 2019 Human Development Index, and has an estimated poverty rate of 74.1 percent (2019), with difficult living conditions for the vast majority of the population. The government recognizes the importance of the civil registration and vital statistics systems among many other governance priorities.

The motivation for the ongoing and planned improvements to the civil registration and vital statistics systems is to improve access to and delivery of basic services as part of the effort to reduce poverty and strengthen development potential.

Madagascar has recently made significant progress in revising and updating the legal framework for civil registration. The country has made a political commitment to modernize the civil registry and is currently planning a major reform project with funding from the World Bank.




Annex 1

Source: Harbitz, M. and Witt, M. 2017. Madagascar Country Diagnostic. World Bank.