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National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)

The nation’s vital statistics are available from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), which is maintained by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). These vital statistics are provided through state-operated registration systems and are based on vital records filed in state vital statistics offices.

Recording vital events is the responsibility of the individual states and independent registration areas (District of Columbia, New York City, and five territories) in which the event occurs. Legal responsibility for the registration of vital events rests with the individual states.

Through its Vital Statistics Cooperative Program, NCHS cooperates with state vital statistics offices to develop and recommend standard forms for data collection and model regulations and procedures to ensure uniform reporting of the events monitored by the NVSS. Detailed annual data on births, deaths (including infant deaths), and fetal deaths are available for the United States and for states, counties, and other local areas. Data variables include cause of death, age, race, Hispanic origin, sex, marital status, place of birth, residence of decedent, education level, and place of death. These data are obtained through the NCHS application process.

The NCHS issues a public use data set each year for additional analyses. The public use data set no longer contains geography as a variable. However, a data file containing information on geography is obtained for this report through a special request to the National Association of Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (the organization representing state vital registration systems) and to the NCHS.