Vital Statistics Data

The Bureau of Vital Statistics is responsible for the registration, amendment, analysis, and reporting of all vital events in NYC including births, deaths, and terminations of pregnancy. All vital events are required by law to be reported to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene if they occur in or enroute to NYC, regardless of individual residency status, in a particular year. We are committed to collaborating with researchers and community members to understand and promote the health of New Yorkers. Data are available publicly or by request, depending on the type of data that you need.

See below for the type of data we offer, and how you can access it.

Types of Vital Events

Birth Data

Birth data come from information provided for birth certificates. These contain information about parents’ demographics, birth parent’s prenatal history and care, insurance coverage as well as labor and delivery. Births must be filed within five business days of the event. Birth data are generally collected using two worksheets:

Mortality Data (Death Data)

Mortality data (death data) come from information provided for death certificates. These contain demographic information such as the age, sex, race and residence of the person who died, fact of death (person, place, and time of death) as well as information about the cause of death. The demographic information is typically provided by a family member through the funeral home.

There are two forms, one for natural causes and one for medical examiner cases.

  • Natural cause certificates – Most deaths are due to natural causes (disease).
    • The cause of death is entered on the confidential medical report. The confidential medical report information is for the compilation of public health statistics and for scientific purposes only.
  • Medical examiner certificate of death – When the cause of death is an accident, homicide, suicide, or due to other external circumstances (approximately 15% of deaths), the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) completes the medical examiner certificate of death and supplementary report.
    • The cause of death is entered on the death certificate itself. In addition to cause of death, the OCME certificate collects information on the circumstances of external causes of death. The OCME certificate indicates manner of death: natural, accident, homicide, suicide or undetermined.

Infant Mortality

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before their first birthday.

Spontaneous Termination of Pregnancy

Spontaneous termination of pregnancy, or STOP, is a death of a fetus at any point during the pregnancy. Other terms for spontaneous terminations of pregnancy include miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal demise. The Health Department requires filing reports of spontaneous terminations of any gestational age. The Health Department collects more detailed information on medical characteristics of the birth parent and fetus for gestational ages 20 weeks or older.

Publicly Available Data

Vital Statistics Annual Summary

Every year the Health Department’s Summary of Vital Statistics highlights trends in the births and deaths that occur in New York City. These trends are used to inform our programs and policies. Use the Publication search page to access Summary of Vital Statistics for Series Title.

EpiQuery

EpiQuery is a web-based, user-friendly system designed to provide users with health data from a variety of sources. EpiQuery Modules are based on health datasets with varying topics and indicators for different NYC populations. The system runs real-time analyses to offer prevalence estimates with confidence intervals, rates over time, bar charts and neighborhood maps and much more. To access vital statistics data through EpiQuery, under “Source,” click on “Vital Statistics,” or go to the Birth and Death section under “Topic.” The most recent year of data may be available in the VS summary.

Micro SAS Data Sets

Data That Requires Permission

Two kinds of data require a Data Use Application [need secure form for this], which limits access and allowable uses of the information.

Aggregate data

Information where line-listed data have been combined into two or more levels. Aggregate data may be comprised of counts (frequencies) or summary statistics. If aggregated data is deemed identifiable, you will be informed. Certain restrictions may apply to identifiable aggregated data.

Here are some examples of aggregate data:

  • Birth rates for Asian women living in Brooklyn from 2015 to 2017
  • Number of infants born to Hispanic/Latina mothers in 2018 in Brooklyn that weighed less than 2,500 grams.
  • Number of people that died in traffic accidents in Staten Island in 2019.

Line-level Data

In line-level data, there are one or more records or rows for each individual in the sample. These data may be deemed non-identifiable or identifiable.

  • “Non-identifiable data” means data stripped of all data elements that could identify an individual and which cannot reasonably be used to identify an individual when combined with publicly available information or through other means.
  • “Individually identifiable data” means data that:
    • could identify an individual because of the inclusion of demographic information and/or unique identifiers such as a name, social security number, date of birth or electronic medical record (EMR) number; or
    • data which reasonably can be used to identify an individual when combined with publicly available information or through other means.

The Health Department can provide line-level data in two forms:

  1. Limited Use Datasets: Line listed pre-defined data sets with identifiers removed. The Health Department provides pre-defined identifiable Limited Use Datasets available from 1996 forward through 2019. These contain sufficient individual characteristics that could enable individual re-identification even though direct identifiers (such as names and address), literals and exact dates are removed. Data sets are accompanied by file formats describing the specific variables included. Certain restrictions apply.
  2. Customized Identifiable Data: If more select or detailed data than that available in the Limited Use Birth data is needed for your project, you may request customized datasets. Certain restrictions apply.

Vital Statistics Data Linked to Another Data Source

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)-Linked to Birth Data

PRAMS is a surveillance project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health departments. PRAMS collects state and NYC-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during and shortly after pregnancy. Researchers and state, territory and local governments use PRAMS data to investigate emerging issues in reproductive health.

  • For more information on PRAMS data, visit the CDC website
  • Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)-Linked to Birth or Death Data

    SPARCS is a comprehensive all payer data reporting system. The system was initially created to collect information on discharges from hospitals. SPARCS currently collects patient level detail on patient characteristics, diagnoses and treatments, services and charges for each hospital inpatient stay and outpatient visit.

    SPARCS offers three levels of data access: public, limited and identifiable. SPARCS data may be used for medical or scientific research, or statistical or epidemiological purposes. To access SPARCS identifiable or limited data, submit a request to the SPARCS Program using standard data request forms.

  • For more information on SPARCS data, visit the New York State Department of Health website.
  • PDF Copies of Birth Certificates

    If you need a copy of your or child’s birth certificate, visit the Birth Certificates page to order. You can order a copy for administrative or research purposes approved by the NYC Health Code.

    PDF Copies of Redacted Death Certificates (Clinical Trial Adjudication)

    Adjudication in clinical trials, also known as Clinical Endpoint Adjudication, is a standardized process that assesses the safety and efficacy of clinical trials. It aims to accomplish consistency and accuracy in study results and eliminate potential bias of investigators (Held, 2019). These vital record copies may also be used for mortality surveillance and survival analysis.

    For more information on how to request access to this data, visit the Accessing Vital Statistics Data page.

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