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Death registration is key to measuring and implementing public health policies, responding to health emergencies and a key component of legal identity. Despite progress, many countries still do not have universal and inclusive death registration systems and measuring completeness is essential to understanding the extent to which these systems may be deficient. However, data on the level of completeness and the number of unregistered deaths is lacking and this paper represents the first attempt to estimate the level of death registration completeness at the regional level. Innovative methods are applied to estimate unregistered deaths in countries for which this data are not reported.

This Brief is part of ESCAP’s work on civil registration and vital statistics funded under the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative (D4H) Project.