Worldwide, 65% of deaths go uncounted – here’s how to change that

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


It has been described as the most critical development failure of the past 30 years, and shows no sign of improving: many countries’ systems for registering major life events like births and deaths are incomplete or absent.

In 2007, the Lancet described the situation as follows: “most people in Africa and Asia, and in many other regions, are born and die without leaving a trace in any legal record or official statistic”. A follow-up series in 2015 identified a continued lack of political will to improve the situation. Registration of major life events is fundamental to human security and development, but 65% of deaths and 35% of births remain unrecorded across the world.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

Lucia receives funding from the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and DFID. She is affiliated with the Umea Centre for Global Health Research at Umea University in Sweden.


  • international development
  • Africa
  • Human rights
  • Asia
  • civil registration
  • Death certificate
  • Birth certificate


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