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Vital statistics data

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Birth, Death, Fetal Death, and Infant Death

Vital Statistics Data Files are compiled from the information reported on birth, death, and fetal death certificates, including detailed demographic information related to the infant, mother, and father (for births and fetal deaths) or decedent (for deaths), as well as medical data related to the vital event.  These data files are released in a variety of versions, with and without personal identifiers, in order to provide 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 without personal identifiers should be utilized. 

Personal identifiers are those fields on the data files such as names and other fields that could identify an individual.  In addition, data obtained from the "confidential" portion of the birth and fetal death certificates are protected by law from use for all but specific purposes.  Users of vital statistics files for research purposes 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, fetal death, or death files for research purposes.  Once the files are obtained, users must follow strict guidelines to protect the confidentiality of the data. 

Data Files

The data files are stored on CD-ROM and contain raw data in American Standard Code Information Interchange (ASCII) format.  These 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.  Users must utilize a statistical database package (such as SAS or SPSS) in order to analyze the files. 

 Data Tables

Individual data are presented in a variety of forms (e.g., counts, rates, ratios, percent distributions), for different geographic levels (nation, state, county, city health department, ZIP code), and time periods (e.g., annual, multi-year trends).  The most currently prepared tables are available at the links below. 


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