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LEGISLATIVE REQUIRE-
MENTS FOR REGISTRATION

OF VITAL STATISTICS

THE NECESSITY FOR UNIFORM
LAWS, METHODS, AND FORMS
RESOLUTIONS OF CONGRESS AND
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH
ASSOCIATION WITH A SPECI-
MEN FORM OF LAW FOR THE
REGISTRATION OF DEATHS

UNITED STATES CENSUS OFFICE

WASHINGTON s 1903

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With the organization of the Census Office upon a permanent basis, and the provision for annual reports relating to vital statistics in registration areas, a possibility is now presented that the vital statistics of the United States may be brought up to a higher standard of completeness and accuracy. But there can be no complete statistics of this kind for the United States, as a whole, until comprehensive registration laws are enacted and effectively enforced, in a uniform manner, in all of the States.

A movement for the extension of registration legislation and methods upon such lines as practical experience has demonstrated to be necessary has been initiated by the Census Office in conjunction with the American Public Health Association, after a thorough study of all of the local laws in effect and a complete knowledge of the good and bad features of each. This movement has now been approved by the Congress of the United States in a resolution which recites the necessity for it, and "requests the favorable consideration and action of the State authorities, to the end that the United States may attain a complete and uniform system of registration."

The resolution, as passed by Congress, together with a report made by the Census Committee of the House of Representatives, also resolutions passed by the American Public Health Association at the annual meeting at New Orleans in December, 1902, are given below. The report of the House Committee contains a paper on the subject prepared by the experienced vital statisticians and registration officials constituting the committee on “Demography and Statistics in their Sanitary Relation of the Association.

A specimen form of a law for the registration of deaths is given on pages 16 to 21, as an illustration of construction to meet the requirements indicated by the Committee, including provisions for its proper administration and the maintenance of an effective system.

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RESOLUTION BY CONGRESS.

JOINT RESOLUTION REQUESTING STATE AUTHORITIES TO COOPERATE WITH CENSUS OFFICE IN SECURING A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF BIRTH AND DEATH REGISTRATION.

Whereas the registration of births and deaths at the time of their occurrence furnishes official record information of much value to individuals; and

Whereas the registration of deaths, with information upon certain points, is essential to the progress of medical and sanitary science in preventing and restricting disease and in devising and applying remedial agencies; and

Whereas all of the principal countries of the civilized world recognize the necessity for such registration and enforce the same by general laws; and

Whereas registration in the United States is now confined to a few States, as a whole, and the larger cities, under local laws and ordinances which differ widely in their requirements; and

Whereas it is most important that registration should be conducted under laws that will insure a practical uniformity in the character and amount of information available from the records; and

Whereas the American Public Health Association and the United States Census Office are now cooperating in an effort to extend the benefits of registration and to promote its efficiency by indicating the essential requirements of legislative enactments designed to secure the proper registration of all deaths and births and the collection of accurate vital statistics, to be presented to the attention of the legislative authorities in nonregistration States, with the suggestion that such legislation be adopted: Now, therefore,

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States hereby expresses approval of this movement and requests the favorable consideration and action of the State authorities, to the end that the United States may attain a complete and uniform system of registration.

Approved February 11, 1903.

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