Source: Migration Policy Institute
At least 10 million people around the world are stateless, according to estimates from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), but the real number may be much higher. Statelessness severely limits a person’s human rights, including access to basic services such as health care and education. Often deemed to be illegally present in their country of birth and residence—even if their parents were also born there—stateless individuals may be unable to work in the formal economy, open a bank account, or buy land. A person without identity documents, usually dependent on nationality, is unable to cross international borders through regular channels. The right to vote or to run for office in national elections is restricted to citizens in most countries. As requirements to show official identification multiply, a person without a recognized nationality is increasingly unable to function in the modern world.