The study of the development of registration methods in this country and of their relation to other branches of public health work will be an interesting part of the labors of the future historian of sanitary science. It is generally accepted as a fact that accurate vital statistics are absolutely indispensable to a satisfactory public health administration, and accordingly state and municipal boards of health are charged with the enforcement of registration laws. Nevertheless, while nearly every state in the Union is provided with a state board of health, less than a dozen states possess and enforce in a fairly effective way laws for the registration of deaths.
States having approximately complete returns of deaths are designated "registration states" by the Census Bureau. The standard is not a high one, only about 90 per cent. of accuracy being required for admission to the class. Even thus, there were only nine
WILBUR CL. THE REGISTRATION OF VITAL STATISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES.WHAT THE CENSUS BUREAU IS DOING TO IMPROVE IT.. JAMA. 1905;XLIV(8):591-595. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500350001001