Quarterly Provisional Estimates for Selected Birth Indicators, 2019-Quarter 3, 2021
Provisional estimates are based on a snapshot of all vital statistics birth certificate data received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as of a specified cutoff date. Provisional estimates closely match final data, but they are subject to revision in future quarterly releases as additional records for that quarter are received. See Technical Notes for more details.
In this release of Quarterly Provisional Estimates, NCHS presents estimates of selected reproductive indicators from birth data for 2019 through the third quarter of 2021. Starting with the Quarter 3, 2021 release, indicators are now also shown by race and Hispanic origin of the mother. Estimates for 2019 and 2020 are based on final data (1); estimates for 2021 are based on provisional data. The estimates are based on all birth records received and processed by NCHS as of December 2, 2021. Estimates are presented for: general fertility rates, age-specific birth rates, total and low-risk cesarean delivery and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) rates, preterm and other gestational age birth rates, low birthweight, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission and Medicaid as a source of payment for the delivery. These indicators were selected based on their importance for public health surveillance as well as the feasibility of producing reliable estimates using available provisional data (2). Future quarterly releases may include additional birth indicators from natality data. The rates and percentages for a 12-month moving average are presented to account for seasonality. Estimates for the 12-month period ending with the fourth quarter in each year can be interpreted as an annual provisional estimate for that year. Differences are reported only if statistically significant (p<0.05).