850 million people globally don’t have ID—why this matters and what we can do about it

Blog by Julia Clark, Anna Diofasi, and Claire Casher: “Having proof of legal identity or other officially recognized identification (ID) matters for equitable, sustainable development. It is a basic right and often provides the key to access services and opportunities, whether that is getting a job, opening a bank account, or receiving social assistance payments. The growth of digital services has further increased the need for secure and convenient ways to verify a person’s identity online and remotely.

Yet according to new estimates, some 850 million people globally do not have an official ID (let alone a digital one). 

The World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) Initiative works to tackle the lack of access to identification challenge in multiple ways, starting with counting the uncounted. 

ID4D has produced estimates of global ID coverage since 2016 as part of its Global Dataset. Extensively updated in 2021-2022, the estimate now includes brand new data sources that paint the clearest picture yet of global ID ownership. 

ID4D partnered with the Global Findex survey to obtain representative survey data on adult ID ownership and usage. With this new individual-level data, as well as a significantly expanded set of administrative data provided by ID authorities, estimates released at the end of 2022 indicate that just under 850 million people around the world do not have an official ID (the full methodology is described in the ID4D Global Coverage Estimate report)…(More)”.