With a view to evaluating the real situation of the vital statistics as regards their completeness in the city of Maringá, Paraná State, Brazil, 4,876 hospital live births which occurred during 1989 were studied. The rate of under-registration was estimated as 9.1%, varying according to maternal age, parity and financial condition. The results lead to the hypothesis of an association between under registration and lower socioeconomical levels. The study also describes all the necessary steps to establish the link between the two sets of events, live birth and legal registration.
Underregistration; Birth certificates; Birth rate