This is the quote cited from the UN report, which makes a case for the importance of registration pragmatically:
>“Birth registration is instrumental in safeguarding other human rights because it provides the official ‘proof’ of a child’s existence,”
... but it begs the question for any parent in this situation: "Why do I need proof, my child is right here in front of me?!"
Birth registration and death registration are a matched pair that enable the tracking and prevention of certain kinds of abuse. In Victorian England, way before the availability of contraception or abortion, there was "baby farming". This involved a oneoff payment to send an unwanted infant to be "looked after" with no further contact. The baby farms had very high mortality rates, which everyone turned a blind eye to. This was eventually stamped out. See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Dyer
The most famous example of "why do I care about my birth certificate" is of course Barack Obama. Some people were determined to make it very important.
As would a DNA based paternity test. No need for government issued papers.
A country that can't even issue birth certificates can do DNA testing?
1.) Most people don't want to.
And if they did get stolen, how would I prove they were mine? I have no registered documentation of the cats!
Except for photos, and dozens of individuals who have seen me with the cats.
You don't need a government certificate to bring a civil or criminal case against someone.
Cats are plentiful...I can get one anywhere. Children, on the other hand, are hard to come by. Ask anyone who paid $20k for fertility treatments and still couldn't have a child. More nefarious types can't steal your cats and make them soldiers, or sell them as sex slaves like they can your children.
It's not suprising really. Many people don't track this when they don't need to. Many people used to not track how old they were (i.e. what year they were born in), because it didn't matter.
The UK brought in an old aged pension for everyone about 100 years ago. But you had to be over a certain age. So people suddenly found reason for figuring out how old they were. There had been censuses in the UK for ~50 years before that, but the age didn't matter. You could find people who only "aged" 5 years between 1901 and 1911 ;). It's messy stuff like that that can make genology difficult.
Also, Chinese people have individual birthdays. However, black children born in many counties of northern Florida before 1930 were not given birth certificates.
migration brought in people from turkey, which a while ago was one of the countries handing out estimated birthdays. whenever a gov official visited a town, all new babies were registered and got a birthday at the first of the month.
the SSN in Austria can no longer be considered unique, but still a lot of newbies fall into this trap.
the butterfly effect.
Everyone is born 1 year old too.
In Israel, a lot of people immigrated here from e.g. Iraq, and they don't know their birthday. I guess in some cultures birthdays just weren't remembered (at least in the past, maybe that's changing?).
My father's official birthday is a few months after his actual birthday, because he was born right in the middle of the Japanese occupation of our country. Couldn't get a birth certificate until after WW2 had ended.
Speaking about cultural and capitalist propaganda. In a lot of countries (due to religious motives) birthdays are not celebrated. In fact, true Christianity is also very anti-birthday but capitalism and other mass-spending arguments basically altered those beliefs for their own good.