Nearly 230 million children under the age of five around the world have never had their birth registered, the UN children’s agency says.
A Unicef report issued to mark its 67th birthday said that amounts to one in three children globally.
Deputy director Geeta Rao Gupta said birth registration not only acknowledges a child’s identity and existence but is key “to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations”.
Unicef said children without identification documents are often excluded from education, health care and social security. It cited many barriers to birth registration from parents who are unaware of its importance to cultural barriers and fear the consequences of reporting a birth, including the misuse of personal information.