The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is one of the federal statistical agencies belonging to the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP). The ICSP, which is led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is comprised of the heads of the nation's ten principal statistical agencies plus the heads of the statistical units of four non-statistical agencies. The ICSP coordinates statistical work across organizations, enabling the exchange of information about organization programs and activities, and provides advice and counsel to OMB on statistical activities. The statistical activities of these agencies are predominantly the collection, compilation, processing or analysis of information for statistical purposes. Within this framework, NCHS functions as the federal agency responsible for the collection and dissemination of the nation's vital and health statistics. Its mission is to provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people.
To carry out its mission, NCHS conducts a wide range of annual, periodic, and longitudinal sample surveys and administers the national vital statistics systems. As the nation's principal health statistics agency, NCHS leads the way with accurate, relevant, and timely data. To assure the accuracy, relevance, and timeliness of its statistical products, NCHS assumes responsibility for determining sources of data, measurement methods, methods of data collection and processing while minimizing respondent burden; employing appropriate methods of analysis, and ensuring the public availability of the data and documentation of the methods used to obtain the data. Within the constraints of resource availability, NCHS continually works to improve its data systems to provide information necessary for the formulation of sound public policy. As appropriate, NCHS seeks advice on its statistical program as a whole, including the setting of statistical priorities and on the statistical methodologies it uses. NCHS strives to meet the needs for access to its data while maintaining appropriate safeguards for the confidentiality of individual responses.