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Vital Statistics Data Files

Vital Statistics data files (birth, death and fetal death) are released in a variety of versions, with and without personal identifiers, in order to provided maximum protection to the confidentiality of the individuals named on the certificates.  Unless there is a specific need for personal identifiers, non-confidential data files should be utilized. 

Personal identifiers are those fields on the data files such as names and other fields that could identify an individual.  Certain files containing personal identifiers are considered confidential data files and are only available for specific uses as prescribed by law.  Users must obtain approvals from the California Health and Human Services Agency's Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) and/or the California Department of Public Health Vital Statistics Advisory Committee (VSAC) in order to use birth data files with personal identifiers or death files for research purposes.  Once the files are obtained, users must follow strict guidelines to protect the confidentiality of the data. 

The data files are stored on CD-ROM and contain raw data in American Standard Code Information Inerchange (ASCII) format.  Users must utilize a statistical database package (such as SAS or SPSS) in order to analyze these data files.  Files are not comma-delimited and no software is included on the CD-ROM.  However, file documentation and record layouts are provided with the CD-ROMs.


Description of Files

Below are links to the lists of variables and also the ordering processes and descriptions of available birth, death, fetal death and some limited years of marriage data files:    

Birth and Fetal Death Data Files
Index Files
Marriage Data Files
Death Data Files
Other Links
Last modified on: 12/1/2008 2:54 PM