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Keywords:

  • birth certificate;
  • vital statistics;
  • perinatal data

ABSTRACT: Vital statistics documents for the United States have been revised approximately decennially throughout the past century. In this commentary we review the contents of the 2003 revision of the national standard certificate of live birth, focusing on changes from the certificates in use nationally since 1989, and identifying strengths and weaknesses of key data elements. Additional federal-state partnership funding is imperative to support the transition to the new standard certificates, and to ensure a focus on data quality at the state and national levels. (BIRTH 33:3 September 2006)