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  • U.S. Data Files - Prior to 1972, data are based on a 50-percent sample of birth certificates from all States. Beginning in 1972, data are based on a 100-percent sample of birth certificates from some states and on a 50-percent sample from the remaining States. The number of States from which 100 percent of the records are used has increased from 6 in 1972 to all States and the District of Columbia in 1985.
  • U.S. Territory (PS) Data Files - Birth data from the U.S. Territories Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are available on a separate file beginning in 1994. In 1998, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas were added to the U.S. Territories files.

Demographic data include variables such as date of birth, age and educational attainment of parents, marital status, live-birth order, race, sex, and geographic area. Health data include items such as birth weight, gestation, prenatal care, attendant at birth, and Apgar score. Geographic data includes state, county, city (available for cities of 250,000+ (up to 1980) and 100,000+ (1980-)), SMSA (1980-), and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties.

Population files (such as natpop91.dat.Z) contain the population counts for U.S. women 15-44, those traditionally thought to be "at risk" for giving birth. The files have 2448 lines. Each line represents the count of one combination of 51 state x 6 age x 4 race x 2 Hispanic origin of mother categories. These files are available from 1991 on. Population files are not available for the U.S. Territories.

SEER provides helpful U.S. Population data for 1969 on.

1981 is the first file with both FIPS and NCHS county codes. An NCHS to FIPS state, county, and MSA crosswalk is available..

Thanks to Michael Greenstone and Kenneth Chay for the 1975-1985 data.

NBER affiliates can access this and other data through the NBER computing system.  Files can be located using the directory path of each download link replacing "" with  "/homes/data/". For example, these NVSS datasets can be found under "/homes/data/nvss/natality/" on the internal NBER computer cluster. For more information on the data available on the internal server see NBER Internal Data Collection page.

Downloads 1968 - 2022

Starting 1994 data is separated into us and ps files, where ps are the territory files: natalityYYYY{ps|us}

The 2005 public use data from 2005-on does not include geographic detail due to restrictions imposed by the states. This means that the 2005-on data does not include any geographic variables such as state, county, msa, etc. NAPHSIS has information on requesting restricted versions of the data which include geographic identifiers, etc.

Report on Final Natality Statistics

Standard Birth Certificates



Data Categories

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