National Vital Statistics System-Natality
Vital statistics natality data are a fundamental source of demographic, geographic, and medical and health information on all births occurring in the United States. This is one of the few sources of comparable health-related data for small geographic areas over an extended period of time. The data are used to present the characteristics of babies and their mothers, track trends such as birth rates for teenagers, and compare natality trends with those in other countries.
The National Vital Statistics System Natality component (NVSS-N) obtains information on deaths from the registration offices of each of the 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands. By law, registration of deaths is the responsibility of the professional attendant at birth, generally a physician or midwife. The birth certificate must be filed with the local registrar in the district in which the birth occurred, within a time period prescribed by law (generally 1 to 10 days). State birth certificates are modeled on a U.S. Standard Certificate that is revised periodically. States provide the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) with birth records in electronic format.
In 2007, over 4.3 million births were reported in the U.S.
Data on selected items based on the 2003 revision to the Standard Certificate of Birth are not comparable with data based on previous revisions of the Standard Certificate. Items affected by this change include mother's educational attainment, tobacco use during pregnancy, and prenatal care. Not all states have adopted the 2003 revision at this time.
National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, Maryland. 2010; pp 476-480.