Vital Statistics

"Vital statistics", the data derived from certificates and reports of birth, death, spontaneous fetal death, marriage, dissolution of marriage and related reports. (Missouri Revised Statute, Chapter 193, Section 015).

Celebrating 100 Years of Missouri Vital Statistics

For more than 100 years, Missouri vital records have captured a piece of the life story of each person who has been born or died in Missouri. Vital statistics, key information gleaned from those records, impact Missourians’ lives every day by helping to drive public health efforts to keep individuals and society healthy.

In 1909, the Missouri General Assembly passed legislation that mandated centralized registration of births and deaths in Missouri. This legislation was implemented February 1, 1910, and 1911 was the first full year of Missouri vital statistics to be published by the State Board of Health.

Record Keeping

Birth and death certificates are permanent legal records that contain valuable health and medical information. As legal documents, birth and death certificates provide proof of age, parentage and citizenship. They are used to obtain passports and driver’s licenses, enroll in benefits programs, settle estates, obtain life insurance payouts and terminate Social Security benefits. Vital statistics data have long been Missouri’s primary source of health information. This long history of collection and recording makes vital statistics the most complete and probably the most accurate of all the sources for Missouri health data. Health and medical information from birth and death records is transformed into data to calculate population growth, identify health risk factors, measure health outcomes, plan and evaluate health programs and conduct research.

In recent years, the Department of Health and Senior Services has worked to improve the accuracy of vital statistics data and to automate processing of vital records at the original source.