The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), contracted with The Lewin Group and its subcontractor, The Urban Institute, to explore options for the collection of marriage and divorce statistics at the national, state and local levels. The project explored information collected through national surveys as well as information that states and local entities, such as courts and county clerks, collect through their vital records systems.
One key project task involved site visits to a select number of states to learn more about their vital records systems (see Note below for more information on these systems). This task builds on a large-scale survey effort, in which project staff developed and administered a survey of state-level vital registrars, and companion surveys for local-level staff who collect and report marriage and divorce information, to learn about data contained in state vital registration systems and how information is transmitted from the local to the state level. In selecting candidate states for site visits, the team assessed the survey results to determine which states were more technologically advanced in the collection and/or use of marriage and divorce statistics.