Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 297–317 | Cite as

Birth Registration in China: Practices, Problems and Policies

  • Shuzhuo Li
  • Yexia Zhang
  • Marcus W. Feldman


Data from interviews with staff of government offices, relevant literature and national statistics are used to analyze laws, regulations, rules, policies and operational procedures concerning birth registration in China. The current status of and existing problems with birth registration, as well as the influences of delayed birth registration on children’s rights and welfare are examined. Finally, barriers to birth registration in China are explored and strategies to improve the process of birth registration and to protect children’s rights are proposed. The main findings are as follows: First, the rate of birth registration in China is low and in rural areas and for marginalized children, it is even lower. Second, the dual birth registration system and interference from the Population and Family Planning department cause serious administrative difficulties. Third, the serious problems surrounding birth registration in China are a result of interactions among the interests of different stakeholders, while most stakeholders are unaware of the dimensions of the problems. Strategies and policies to promote birth registration are discussed.


Birth registration Children’s rights Rural–urban differences 



This work is jointly supported by the Plan International (China), the second period of the National 985 Project of the Ministry of Education and Treasury Department of China (07200701) and the Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team (IRT0855) in Universities of the Ministry of Education of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Population and Development Studies, School of Public Policy and AdministrationXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.School of ManagementXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Morrison Institute for Population and Resource StudiesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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