Years Available
1915 to present; not all states participated prior to 1933.
Mode of Collection
Census: records of all births registered in the United States.
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.
Selected Content
Place of birth, prenatal care, demographic information and health status of the baby, demographic information of mother and father, pregnancy history of mother, medical and health data about the delivery, pregnancy, and mother.
Population Covered
The U.S. population. All births registered within the United States.
The National Vital Statistics System Natality component (NVSS-N) obtains information on births from the registration offices of each of the 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, and the US territories. Birth registration is a state function based in state law, while federal law mandates the collection and publication of statistics based on these birth records. State birth certificates are modeled on a U.S. Standard Certificate that is revised periodically. The registration of births is the responsibility of the professional attendant at birth, generally a physician or midwife. Demographic information is typically supplied by the mother. States process and compile statistical files that are transmitted electronically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (CDC, NCHS).
Response Rates and Sample Size
In 2018, a total of 3,791,712 births were registered in the United States. More than 99% of births occurring in the country are believed to be registered.
Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, Driscoll AK. Births: Final data for 2018. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 68 no 13. Hyattsville, MD: NationalCenter for Health Statistics. 2019