With increasing ownership of mobile phones and expanding mobile phone network coverage, there is an unprecedented opportunity to use telephones to collect population-based data. MICS Plus is a method that capitalizes on this. Initiated in 2019, MICS Plus is a longitudinal, representative household survey tool with interviews conducted over the phone. It builds on the 25 years of experience of the MICS programme, and collects data on the situation of children, families, and households on a frequent basis, accumulating longitudinal data which are quickly analyzed and disseminated.
MICS Plus is designed to use the interviewed households of a regular MICS survey as it's sample frame, although the use of any other household-based sample frame that contains phone numbers of households is also possible.
A representative sub-sample of households is selected for MICS Plus, and data collection continues via phones. The main features of MICS Plus are:
Multiple interviews are conducted with the same households at regular intervals of 1-2 months usually for a total period of 12 months – longitudinal, nationally representative data are collected.
Telephone interviews are conducted with one knowledgeable adult member of the household.
Main focus is on issues related to children (education, health, nutrition, child protection, and more) and households. However, the content is flexible.
Findings are disaggregated – usually by area of residence, age, sex, education, wealth quantiles, and other relevant stratifiers.
Conditional substitution (matching substitution) is used at the beginning of MICS Plus for non-responding households and for households without phones. High response rates are achieved. Data are collected at low-cost; processed and analyzed in real-time.
MICS Plus adheres to strict ethical protocols to ensure the privacy of individuals.
MICS Plus is a different mode of data collection and does not replace MICS. It focuses on data gaps that are desired to be measured with high frequency and which are subject to seasonality. Countries that are planning MICS have the opportunity to also plan for MICS Plus through simple questionnaire design changes in the baseline MICS survey, for the objective of collecting data on indicators that are easy to collect via telephone calls. Due to the flexible nature of MICS Plus, the approach and methodology can be used for numerous purposes, such as collecting certain MICS indicators with high frequency, for emerging issues such as crisis monitoring, measuring program coverage, testing new questions, and opinion polling.
A step-by-step guide on MICS Plus implementation is now available. The guide provides end-to-end guidance on the essential steps involved in planning and implementing MICS Plus.
MICS Plus as a Longitudinal Data Collection Tool - OECS Human Data for Development Conference, April 2022
MICS Plus as a Longitudinal Data Collection Tool – UNICEF Data Collection Webinar Series, June 2021
Innovations in household surveys: MICS Plus as a longitudinal real-time data collection tool – a side event to the 52nd session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, March 2021