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New Jersey Health Statistics 1996



This chapter on natality encompasses births to New Jersey residents during the calendar year 1996. The birth certificate is the source document for data included in the analysis. New Jersey law requires that the attending physician, midwife, or person acting as midwife file a certificate of birth with the Local Registrar within five days of a birth within the state. Statistics on births to New Jersey residents which occurred in other states are also included in this report. The inclusion of these data is made possible through the auspices of the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program, which encourages the exchange of information on vital events between the states of occurrence and residence.

The format of the birth certificate was revised and expanded in 1989. One of the major changes was the addition of check-off items regarding a number of medical factors affecting the mother or the infant. Findings from several of these items are included in this chapter. Another change in the birth certificate format was the inclusion of information on Hispanic origin of parents. This presented the opportunity to include detailed information in this report on the characteristics of mothers of Hispanic origin and on their birth outcomes.

The position of items on the revised birth certificate led to considerable confusion between the reporting of a mother's mailing address and her residence address. In 1998, the Center for Health Statistics completed a multi-year project involving the application of address standardization software to convert mailing-label type information so that birth records could be accurately assigned to geographic areas. With the resolution of this problem, it is once again possible to display data for selected municipalities. Additionally, births to residents of military bases and state institutions are now attributed to the municipality and county where the base or institution is located.

In January of 1995, the New Jersey Department of Health began a pilot test of its electronic birth certificate (EBC) in four maternity hospitals in the state. Upon successful completion of this test, the EBC was systematically installed in other New Jersey birthing facilities. Future reports in this series will benefit from the improved quality and timeliness of the data afforded by the EBC, as well as the enhanced array of perinatal data provided through this system.

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Department of Health
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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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