This publication presents the latest available country data and global and regional estimates of the number of unregistered children. It also assesses progress over time and presents evidence for the amount of effort that will be needed – at both global and regional levels – to achieve universal birth registration by 2030.
Since birth registration ideally takes place immediately after birth, estimates of the number of unregistered children are provided for both those under 5 years of age and under 1 year of age. Estimates are also provided for the number of children and infants without birth certificates.
The publication draws from some 400 data sources spanning a period of nearly 20 years. Its findings are intended to inform the development of related policies and programmes. The publication also seeks to raise awareness of the need to strengthen civil registration systems as the most effective strategy to achieve universal birth registration and to ensure that every child is given a legal identity from birth.
World-wide, nearly 166 million children are not registered and 236 million children under age 5 are without a birth certificate. Attaining sufficient data on birth registration is challenging due to insufficient legal frameworks and limited resources. There are especially large difficulties gaining statistics on birth registration for children who are living outside of households, undocumented nationals, refugees, and migrants, etc. – many requiring alternative care. Current global statistics highlight the children who are registered and own a certificate are below 50% in Africa and South Asia. Looking towards 2030, progress has been made as the number of children unregistered today has reduced by 50%.
Access the summary in French here.
Learn more about UNICEF's work on birth registration here.