Alert–Pending Revision of the Model State Vital Statistics Act

NAPHSIS Resolution

The preceding file describes the current status of the 2011 Revision of the Model State Vital Statistics Act.

The vital statistics of the United States are collected and published through a decentralized, cooperative system.  Responsibility for the registration of births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, divorces and annulments and the reporting of induced terminations of pregnancy is vested in the 57 vital registration jurisdictions.  The degree of uniformity necessary for national statistics has been achieved by periodic issuance of recommended standards which take the form of model laws and regulations, definitions, and reporting forms.  


The Model State Vital Statistics Act and Regulations (Model Law) was developed to serve as a model for states in preparing their own laws and regulations.  The Model Law has been designed to improve the quality and uniformity of state data by establishing standard reporting requirements, definitions, and procedures for registering vital events.  The Model Law has an impact on how vital statistics data are collected at the state level, which in turn impacts on national vital statistics.  The 1992 Revision also contains provisions limiting public access to birth records for 100 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death, marriage, or divorce. 


The first Model Law was developed in 1907 by the Bureau of the Census and has been revised periodically through a cooperative process between the appropriate federal agency responsible for national vital statistics and state vital statistics offices.  The last revision of the Model Law and regulations was in 1992.

In the near future, we anticipate that an opportunity will be provided for public comment on the draft of the 2011 Revision of the Model Act.  We have opened a channel into those offices at the Centers for Disease Control currently responsible for finalizing the 2011 Revision.   Once the draft becomes available for review and comment, the Records Preservation and Access Committee will broadly notify the genealogical community and strive to develop a coordinated response.

Once the draft is made available, your comments and suggestions should be forwarded to .  After analysis and coordination we will seek to provide a recommended response and appropriate suggestions for the genealogical community to consider.

The provisions of this revision could well influence our access to vital records for another twenty years.  Check back to this blog regularly for the latest developments in this issue.


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