Documentation of Natality – Need to know About Birth Certificates

Birth Certificates

Natality – Birth Records Documentation

In the later phase of the 20th century and the starting of this millennium, global citizens have witnessed an extraordinary increase in the world population at an exponential rate. This humongous increase In the population has been termed by the demographers and anthropologists as the ‘ Population explosion’.  The modern demographers and anthropologists explain this sudden increase in the human population due to a few of the following factors –  

  • Advancement in the field of medical sciences which is the sole reason for being successful in bringing out the cure for many life-threatening diseases.
  • Political integrity and peacemaking policy of different countries around the world which has enabled nations to avoid wars and heavy casualties.
  • The increasing life expectancy of a person, average life increasing from 48 years ( in the 1920s) to 62 years (in 2000s)
  • Suppressing of pandemics and epidemics again with the help of progressive medical sciences.

Hence, with the increase in the population, the government of the different nations has to keep track of the demographic changes in the population. Therefore, the government issues new birth certificates for the newborn to keep track of the population count.

Why are birth certificates important?

In most cases, the documentation of the natality (documentation of birth rate or the newborn), as well as the mortality rate (death rate), helps in keeping tally of the total population of the nation. The study of population is known as demography and demographic study of a nation is generally done by organizations known as the Census. The reports on the population, which are generally known as the census reports, are generally based on the number of new birth certificates, the number of death certificates as well as on the land surveys. Thus, we find a new birth certificate is important in these respects. 

The instances of birth certificate from history

Though people think, this practice of documentation of newborn and his birth details as a new practice but this has come up from the ages as we find in the pages of the history, but more for a commemorative purpose. For example – The birth of the sons and daughters of the kings and queens were commemorated with the erection of a stone pillar was an inscription would describe the event. Sometimes, an alternative would be recordings on the palm leaf or the papyrus. From the prehistoric period, there has been a practice of recording births and deaths as shown by the different pioneering civilizations. The Egyptian civilization was the first in comparison to their contemporary Sumerians to record the natality rate priorly after the invention of papyrus by them. The Greeks documented these for the sake of keeping the social divisions in their democracy – recording the number of citizens born, number of Metics ( foreign residents born), number of slaves born, etc. The Romans also kept such a record for the sake of maintaining social order in their republic.  The Chinese commemorated the birth of the royal members through immortalizing through local legends and recording history by the court biographer and poet. Similarly, the Indians had recorded the birth of the royal members of the family through stone pillar inscriptions, copper plate inscriptions, palm-leaf manuscripts and biographies by the court poet of the royal patrons. Hence, this is how the mortality rate and birth rate was documented in the prehistoric era.

The first official document of a new birth certificate was found when a new birth certificate was issued for the first time officially with the queen’s stamp in the United Kingdom in 1853. Therefore, this format of birth certificating is still maintained in the commonwealth countries and the other popular nations across the globe.

Hence, in a nutshell, we find a new birth certificate is quite necessary for official documenting for the nation as a part of the census report and for the individual as well.

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