The Under-Registration of Births in Latin America

Jan 2006
Approximately 14 percent of births are unregistered in Latin America according to estimates by UNICEF (2001). Children who lack an official birth certificate can be denied access to social services, including enrolling in school and accessing health services. This paper examines the under-registration of births in six Latin American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Nicaragua) using Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Under-registration of children younger than 5 is found to range from 8.4 percent in Peru to 25.8 percent in the Dominican Republic. Striking regional differences are found in all six countries.