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National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2005

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National Vital Statistics System—Linked Birth and Infant Death Data (NVSS-I)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Mode of Administration

Linked birth and infant death data are part of the nation's vital and health statistics. Vital statistics are provided through State-operated registration systems. Administrative records (death certificates) completed by physicians, coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors, and administrative records (birth certificates) completed by physicians and midwives, are filed with State vital statistics offices; selected statistical information is forwarded to NCHS to be merged into a national statistical file.

Survey Sample Design

NVSS mortality files include data for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. All deaths (all ages) occurring in those areas are included (approximately 2.3 to 2.4 million annually).

Standard forms for the collection of the data and model procedures for the uniform registration of the events are developed and recommended for State use through cooperative activities of the States and NCHS.

Software is available to automate coding of medical information on the death certificate, following World Health Organization rules specified in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

In the linked birth and infant death data set the information from the death certificate is linked to the information from the birth certificate for each infant under one year of age who dies in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

Primary Survey Content

The linked files include information from the death and birth certificates. The vital statistics general mortality data are a fundamental source of geographic and cause-of-death information, and some demographic information. The birth certificate is the primary source of demographic information, such as age, race, and Hispanic origin of the parents; maternal education; live birth order; and mother's marital status; and of maternal and infant health information, such as birthweight, period of gestation, plurality, prenatal care usage, and maternal smoking, etc.

Population Targeted


Demographic Data

Age, race, gender, Hispanic origin of the parents.

Years Collected

Linked files are available for the data years 1983–1991 and 1995–2001.


Data are collected/produced annually.

Geographic Estimates

National, by States.

Place of death is classified by State and county. In residence classification, all deaths are allocated to the usual place of residence as reported on the death certificate and are classified by State, county, and city. The public use file identifies counties of 250,000 population or more.

Contact Information

Agency homepage:

Data system homepage:


Mathews TJ, Menacker F, MacDorman MF. Infant mortality statistics for the 2001 period linked birth/infant death data set. National vital statistics reports; vol. 52 no. 2. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2003.



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