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Finding Health Data and Statistics: Vital Statistics

This guide provides websites and resources for finding data sets and statistics in the area of health and health care.

About Vital Statistics

Vital statistics are data on "vital events," namely births, deaths, and civil activities like marriages and divorces.

Therefore, there are overlapping areas belonging both to the vital statistics and other topical sections of this guide.

For example, statistics on cancer mortality (the number of people who die of a certain disease compared with the total number of people) are available from the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as well as from the National Vital Statistics Report.

New York State Vital Statistics

For state level statistics, try searching state Departments of Health websites.  Here a few sources for Vital Statistics closer to home.

Vital Statistics of New York State

Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Records

Requesting Vital Records

Key Vital Statistics Sources

National Vital Statistics System

The Division of Vital Statistics is part of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  This website is the starting point for information on:

  • Birth data
  • Mortality data
  • Fetal death data
  • Linked birth and death data
  • Marriages and divorces
  • National Maternal and Infant Health Survey
  • National Mortality Followback Survey

National Vital Statistics Reports

This monthly report regularly updates Vital Statistics of the United States.  Also includes periodic reports covering special topics.

Vital Statistics of the United States

An annual report from NCHS.  The most comprehensive published report on vital statistics in the U.S. 
The print publication of this report by NCHS ceased in 1993.  More recent additions published by Bernan Press are also available.

Other sources of vital statistics

American’s Families and Living Arrangements
Look here for information on marriages. 
Formerly Marital Status and Living Arrangements.

Atlas of United States Mortality

Released to the public on April 14, 1997, this atlas is the first to show all leading causes of death by race and sex for small U.S. geographic areas referred to as Health Service Areas (HSA's). In addition to maps with age-adjusted death rates for each HSA, the atlas includes maps that compare each HSA rate to the national rate, smoothed maps for each cause that show the broad geographic patterns at selected ages, and a chart with regional rates for each cause of death.”

Fertility of American Women
Reports from the Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the American Community Survey.

Historical Statistics of the United States

This resources is another way of getting at historical statistics including vital statistics on births, deaths, marriage and more.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Provides weekly updates on death and death rates.

Statistical Abstract of the United States

This comprehensive reference contains tables with data on births, deaths, abortions, fetal deaths, fertility, life expectancy, marriages, and divorces.

U.S. Decennial Life Tables

Provides information on life expectancies.  Life tables are also available in Vital Statistics of the United States, but use a different methodology.

The online data analysis tool from the National Vital Statistics System.  Includes tables, data files, and reports.

Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System

CDC’s WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources. Researchers, the media, public health professionals, and the public can use WISQARS™ data to learn more about the public health and economic burden associated with unintentional and violence-related injury in the United States.

Note: Information in this guide is adapted from Using Government Information Sources: Electronic and Print.

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