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December 26, 1908


Author Affiliations

Chief Statistician, Bureau of the Census. WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1908;LI(26):2212-2213. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410260014001c

I feel that I may reasonably take for granted the validity of the principle that complete and trustworthy vital statistics are the very foundation of sanitary work and absolutely indispensable in the daily duties of officers of the public health.

The means of obtaining such statistics were laid down in the "essential requirements" formulated some years ago by the American Public Health Association and the Bureau of the Census, and only last month reaffirmed, as "statistical rules," by the American Public Health Association. These principles have formed the basis of many successful laws, and no legislation in this country that has disregarded them has been successful. They are so important that it is worth while to repeat them:

Essential Requirements for Registration of Deaths. 

  1. Deaths must be recorded immediately after their occurrence.

  2. Certificates of death of standard form should be used.

  3. Burial or removal permits are essential to the enforcement

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