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.
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
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.”
U.S. Fertility Data
Provides fertility tables and historical time series tables. Data collected by various U.S. Census Bureau agencies.
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 ceased publication in 2011, but historical tables with data on births, deaths, abortions, fetal deaths, fertility, life expectancy, marriages, and divorces is still stored on the U.S. Census Bureau site.
U.S. Decennial Life Tables
Provides information on life expectancies.
VitalStats Online Data Portal
Information found in the Data Portal is collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the CDC. Includes tables, data files, and reports. NOTE: The former Vital Stats data access tool was shutdown permanently in July 2016.
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.