Rationale and definition:
In many developing countries, the births of a substantial share of children are unregistered. Registering births is important for ensuring the fulfillment of human rights. Free birth registration is the key starting point for the recognition and protection of every person’s right to identity and existence. Failure to register births either due to insufficient administrative systems, discrimination, or isolation is a key cause of social exclusion. By ensuring registration of all births, countries will increase their population’s opportunities to access services and opportunities and their ability to track health statistics (infant mortality rates, vaccination coverage, etc.).
Data should be disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, indigenous status, geographic location (etc.) to identify and end discrimination within the population.
Comments and limitations:
To be reviewed.
Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:
Primary data source:
This indicator is measured through national civil registration and vital statistics, which are complemented by household surveys in most countries.
Potential lead agency or agencies:
UNICEF collects global data through the MICS questionnaire, which asks mothers (or primary caregivers) of children under 5 whether they have a birth certificate or are otherwise registered with civil authorities, and their knowledge of how to register a child.1
UNICEF, (2013), Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and trends in birth registration, New York, NY: UNICEF, 6.