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Health Statistics: About Health Statistics

Health Statistics

Health statistics are used to understand risk factors for communities, track and monitor diseases, see the impact of policy changes, and assess the quality and safety of health care.

National Library of Medicine (NLM)


Data: raw numbers; counts of individual events or services.

Statistics: data analyzed and summarized; presented as percentages, graphs, tables, maps, etc.

Vital statistics: statistics on live births, fetal deaths, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

See also: Common Terms and Equations in Health Statistics

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Who Uses Health Data and Statistics?

The CDC identifies the following groups as common users of health data:

  • Policymakers
    • to track implementation of health policies and programs, set priorities for research and prevention programs, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Epidemiologists and researchers
    • to understand trends in health, health care delivery, risk factors, and outcomes.
  • Businesses
    • to support health-related activities of manufacturing, marketing, and consulting firms and trade associations.
  • Public health professionals
    • to identify and monitor health problems, risk factors, and disease patterns, and to assess the impact of interventions.
  • Physicians
    • to evaluate health and risk factors of their patients (such as norms for cholesterol, body weight, blood pressure, and children’s growth).
  • Media and advocacy groups
    • to obtain accurate information for use in raising awareness of health issues.