The Importance of a Birth Certificate


Every presidential election leads to a discussion of birth certificates. Is it OK to be born in Canada? Was the Canal Zone part of the U.S.? Was he really born in Hawaii? These questions are political in nature and miss the larger point.

In many countries birth certificates are not a given, and not having a birth certificate can have devastating consequences. How the Birth Certificate Became a Ticket to Society highlights some of these consequences:

  • Denial of¬†health care, schooling, and fair treatment in society.
  • Risk of child labor, forcible conscription, child marriage, trafficking, and sexual exploitation.

More than 230 million children under the age of five have no birth certificate, including many children in China, India, and Somalia.

See also The Value of Identification.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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