Legally instituted forms of personal identification (ID) have increasingly become integral to many aspects of civic participation and inclusion. To both better understand and serve citizens, many countries have established or expanded national identification systems, in some cases greatly expanding the roles national IDs play in political, economic, and social development. In the EPAR Technical Report #306: Review of National Identity Programs in Developing Countries, we review the status and characteristics of 48 national identity programs and initiatives in 43 developing countries, and evaluate how these programs are being connected to—or used for—service provision.


Hover over specific data points on either the map or the figures to discover more information about what data and characteristics they represent. In order to focus the information presented in the charts on a particular variable, either: 1) select a category or a particular data point by clicking on the desired selection in the figure or legend (you can use CTRL to select multiple categories); or 2) select a region from the dropdown menu. To revert back to a prior selection or reverse your last action, use the undo and redo buttons in the bottom left of the visualization. Clicking the reset button or blank space in the selected chart will return the visualization to the standard view. To view the visualization in full-screen, visit the Tableau page here

The Visualization

This Tableau-based data visualization summarizes data on the type and status of national identity programs in 43 developing countries, including challenges that these programs face, and linkages between ID programs and the additional services they may provide. The interactive figures allow for the exploration of relationships between these various indicators.

We collected publicly-available information on national identity programs in 43 developing countries with 2013 populations over 15 million and GDP per capita under US$10,000. Searches for program-specific documents as well as academic and grey literature on national identity programs yielded a total of 397 documents that appeared relevant to national identity programs in the countries of interest. We reviewed the evidence available for each national identity program to build a dataset covering basic characteristics of the programs, their operational methodologies, implementation process and challenges, and linkages to other functions or services. The dataset and accompanying report are available for download on our website.

By Kirby Callaway and Audrey Lawrence

Summarizing research by Pierre Biscaye, Sarah Coney, Eugenia Ho, Brian Hutchinson, Mia Neidhardt, C. Leigh Anderson, and Travis Reynolds

View full report