Vital Statistics

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Various government agencies are responsible for gathering data through civil registration systems and records, then compiling it into what is known as vital statistics. Data recorded as vital statistics include:

  • Birth rates and characteristics of births (sex, location, maternal age, etc.)
  • Death rates and characteristics of death (age, sex, location, cause of death, etc.)
  • Fetal deaths
  • Marriages
  • Divorces
  • Domestic partnerships and/or civil unions

Local and state registries gather this data and send it to the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The NCHS then compiles the data, analyzes it, and publishes annual reports based on their findings.

These reports help shape new laws and initiatives designed to maintain and improve the health of U.S. citizens, including things like:

  • Public health initiatives
  • Social services
  • Economic planning
  • Program development

You can view the annual NCHS reports online, and U.S. vital statistics are available through the Vital Statistics Online Portal and in many other government agency publications and on their websites.

See also: Vital records offices

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