Book by Wendel, Helmut F.
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The U.S. government document that held the title Vital Statistics of the United States from 1937 to around 1993 no longer exists in its traditional multivolume form. A user needing this information would have to consult multiple electronic and paper sources to find the data still being collected by the various government agencies. Enter Bernan, a publisher whose stock in trade is repackaging government information. This first edition of the Bernan version is part of their award-winning U.S. DataBook series.
The Bernan publication has considerably fewer pages than the government document, and one would assume fewer tables, although as the document did not have continuous paging, it is hard to give a percentage difference. To the sections on births, mortality, and marriage and divorce, Bernan adds a fourth section, "Health," that had never been part of the original but is a considerable portion of this volume. Other benefits to the new version are a topical index in the back (users of the document had to rely on the titles of the tables to find information), a glossary of terms, and notes on source material. Not included is the geographic reporting of statistics that was a major emphasis of the document version. Researchers may have to seek local sources for that level of detail and perhaps lose comparability of the data as a result.
Bernan's Vital Statistics of the United States reflects the current state of the world by its choice of issues to report, among them birthrate by smoking status of mother and AIDS and Alzheimer's included as causes of death. The health section includes tables on high-school students not engaged in physical activity, use of mammography, and numbers of hospice patients. Statistics on marriage and divorce compose a tiny portion of the volumes, since they are no longer systematically gathered.
Even though the information can perhaps be found in other sources, this nicely packaged volume will be hard for many libraries to pass up. Danise Hoover
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