The federal statistical system
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    The U.S. federal statistical system is composed of the 13 principal federal statistical agencies (see Figure), each of which has a principal mission to produce a substantial portion of ofÿcial federal statistics. The Ofÿce of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Ofÿce of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) coordinates the nation’s decentralized federal statistical system through the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP), which enables the exchange of information about statistical programs and activities. Within this system, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) functions as the federal agency responsible for the collection and dissemination of the nation’s vital and health statistics.

    Federal statistical agencies are charged with providing relevant, accurate, and timely data to inform public and private decision making. To meet this charge, agencies rely on the Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency developed by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to guide their strategic planning, daily operations, and interactions with stakeholders. Agencies embrace a common set of professional standards and operational practices designed to ensure the quality, integrity, and credibility of their statistical activities. This allows them to provide objective information that is relevant to issues of public policy. Independence is key to maintaining the trust of those who provide and use the information. Actual or perceived violations of any of these principles undermines the scientiÿc integrity of, and public conÿdence in, the data produced by principal statistical agencies.

    NCHS is the nation’s principal health statistics agency, providing data to identify and address health issues. NCHS compiles statistical information to help guide public health and health policy decisions.


    For more information about NCHS, visit


  • Content Notes:
    How does NCHS obtain data? -- What data are produced? -- How does NCHS assure data quality? -- Who uses these data?
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