National Vital Statistics System

Birth Data

baby with stethoscope

In the United States, State laws require birth certificates to be completed for all births, and Federal law mandates national collection and publication of births and other vital statistics data. The National Vital Statistics System, the Federal compilation of this data, is the result of the cooperation between the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the States to provide access to statistical information from birth certificates.

Standard forms for the collection of the data and model procedures for the uniform registration of the events are developed and recommended for State use through cooperative activities of the States and NCHS. Material is available to assist persons in completing the death certificate. NCHS shares the costs incurred by the States in providing vital statistics data for national use.

Key Birth Statistics
Data for United States in 2015
  • Number of births: 3,978,497
  • Birth rate: 12.4 per 1,000 population
  • Fertility rate: 62.5 births per 1000 women aged 15-44 years
  • Percent born low birthweight: 8.1%
  • Percent unmarried: 40.3%

Source: Births: Final Data for 2015 pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]

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Page last reviewed: June 10, 2019