This National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) contains vital registration data for the United States, dating back to the 1960s. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) provides NVSS public-use datasets on births and deaths, including multiple cause of death data and fetal death data. Due to the changes in confidentiality standards, some data do not contain geographic identifiers. However, customized files containing state and county identifiers may be requested from the NCHS.
The NCHS collects vital registration data from health departments in 50 states, 2 cities (Washington, D.C. and New York City) and 5 territories (Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Based on these data, it publishes national vital statistics and analytical reports on public health and social problems, such as infant mortality rates, prenatal care and birth weight.
In 1946, the management of the national vital statistics system was transferred from the Bureau of the Census to the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1960, the NCHS was established, merging the National Office of Vital Statistics with the National Health Survey.