National Vital Statistics System

The Public Health Impact of Vital Statistics

Why Vital Statistics Matter at Local, State, Territorial and National Levels
Vital statistics provide insight into important trends in health, including the impact of chronic conditions, progress on reducing deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, and the evolving challenge of substance abuse. The vital statistics system is a key part of the public health infrastructure, providing the best and most complete information on populations and health outcomes. Investments in the vital statistics infrastructure can improve health, reduce costs, strengthen national security, and increase resilience to outbreaks, disasters and other crises. Vital statistics data guide investments to improve health and help measure the success of those investments. Vital statistics inform public health efforts at the community, local, state and national levels. NCHS partners with 57 jurisdictions across the country to collect, analyze, and share vital statistics data.. Jurisdictions rely on birth and death records for a variety of administrative needs, and also use vital statistics to inform decisions aimed at improving health and healthcare.

Enhancing the Mortality Data Ecosystem

Taking the First Step Towards Improving the Vital Statistics Ecosystem
In September 2016, NCHS launched a project to modernize the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), focused on mortality data and statistics. The project is improving the ability of users from throughout the mortality data ecosystem to access timely and accurate mortality data by exploring financing models for mortality data services; piloting new electronic death registration (EDRS) capabilities; and engaging with stakeholders from local, state, territorial and national levels, including collaborations with other federal agencies and programs to enable needed interoperability changes to become a feasible and sustainable reality.

Picture of group of people

Learn more about why mortality data modernization matters in this video.
Transcript of video Cdc-pdf[PDF – 78 KB]

Getting Involved: For more information about these efforts to enhance the mortality data ecosystem, please contact H. Mac McCraw.


The project will benefit public health by providing a modernized death registration system to improve understanding of health risks and identify opportunities for effective interventions at all levels. NCHS will have the capacity to meet its responsibilities to collect and share vital statistics, which will in turn lead to improved health outcomes.


The project team will engage with stakeholders from across the mortality data ecosystem to develop financing models for NVSS, the National Death Index (NDI), and next-generation (Next Gen) Electronic Death Registration Systems (EDRS). The team will define the Next Gen EDRS, and pilot the resulting capability, focused initially on jurisdictions without EDRS. Stakeholder engagement will include partnering with a diverse community of data collectors and users of vital statistics data.

Page last reviewed: June 18, 2018