Vital statistics consist of data compiled by government agencies from information gathered by civil registration systems and records about births, Marriages, Divorces and Deaths. Depending on which one is concerned, Data recorded as vital statistics can include different elements such as:
- Birth rates
- Characteristics of births (sex, location, maternal age, etc.)
- Death rates
- Characteristics of death (age, sex, location, cause of death, etc.)
- Fetal deaths
- Domestic partnerships and/or civil unions (where applicable)
Information on these events is gathered by local and state registries and sent to both the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The NCHS compiles and analyzes this data, then releases annual reports on things like mortality rates and factors or marriage and divorce rates.
These reports help lawmakers and other government agencies determine the proper steps to take to encourage and protect the health of U.S. citizens. They also help determine whether current policies are effective, and can be referred to when making decisions for things like:
- Public health initiatives
- Social services
- Economic planning
- Program development
Annual NCHS reports can be downloaded or viewed online. U.S. vital statistics can also be found in the Vital Statistics Online Portal or in many other government agency publications and websites.
Find out more about: Vital records offices