Who is left out? : Hidden Patterns of Birth Under-registration; A Case Study about Iran

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: Universal full coverage of birth registration by 2030 is one of the sustainable development targets which itself is of great significance for the accomplishment of many development goals such as poverty eradication, inclusion, as well as improvement of several health factors. Despite the importance of this topic, not much academic attention has been paid to study the problem of birth under-registration from the perspective of development studies. This research studies the issue of birth under-registration through a case study of Iran. The four main questions of this research are the quantitative significance of the problem, the main causes of birth under-registration, the most affected social groups, and the main problematic domain of action, in the context of Iran. By utilizing an abductive content analysis method, this research aims to understand the problem, rather than proposing policy recommendations. This desk study uses secondary sources and almost all of the sources are of qualitative nature. It is not based on any pre-defined theory and therefore does not aim to generalize nor theorize the findings. It, however, is based on available theories for developing the analytical framework. The adopted analytical framework is Bottleneck analysis which is a method designed by UNICEF specifically for the purpose of birth registration programming and policy evaluation. Birth under-registration in Iran - compared to other countries in the region - turned out to be very low. The findings provide information on many good practices regarding birth registration programming and also about several areas in need of improvement in Iran. By applying the analytical framework to the findings, identified disincentives have been categorized in three domains of supply, demand, and enabling environment, and the significance of disincentives in each domain has been assessed. Based on the analysis, it can be concluded that almost all of the main causes of birth registration are of legal nature, especially patriarchal nationality laws. Also, it was found that the main risk groups were children of illegal immigrants, non-nationals, and unregistered parents, and the main problematic domain is found to be the domain of supply.

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