March of Dimes March of Dimes Peristats

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.

What is the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center?

A.

The Perinatal Data Center is located at the March of Dimes National Office in White Plains, NY. The Perinatal Data Center's role is to acquire and analyze maternal and infant health data, and to interpret this information for the March of Dimes and for health professionals, research groups and organizations external to the March of Dimes.

The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve infant health by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The goal of the Perinatal Data Center is to clearly present perinatal data, so that professionals focused on issues related to maternal and infant health can make more informed decisions to ultimately improve infant health. To fulfill this objective, the Perinatal Data Center staff collaborate and provide guidance on epidemiologic and statistic analyses and grants, and present analytical findings at national conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.

To contact the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, e-mail us at peristats@marchofdimes.com.

Q.

How do I source the data on PeriStats?

A.

The data on PeriStats originates from multiple agencies. Sources for this data are listed at the bottom of every page that includes graphs, maps, tables and data used in context. In addition to the source agency, a citation should include the PeriStats Web site address and the date it was retrieved.

Sample Citation:

National Center for Health Statistics, final natality data. Retrieved February 4th, 2004, from www.marchofdimes.com/peristats.

Q.

How are the health indicators on PeriStats calculated?

A.

The majority of the health indicators on PeriStats are calculated by the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center using data obtained electronically from the source agency. Those data not calculated directly by the Perinatal Data Center are obtained directly from the source agency or their publications. Please see the Calculations section of the Web site for a more detailed description of the methods used to calculate data on PeriStats.

Q.

Is it possible to suggest additional maternal and infant health data sets that could augment the data available on PeriStats?

A.

The March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center has established criteria for the data it includes on PeriStats. The data must be important to the field of maternal and infant health; it must be reliable and have a reliable data collection methodology; and it should be available for most geographic regions of the United States. Finally, the Perinatal Data Center must be able to efficiently acquire and maintain data updates. The Center has established a standard data format for submitting data that facilitates the data updating process. To learn more about submitting data to PeriStats, or if you would like to set up an initial meeting to discuss a proposal, please contact the Perinatal Data Center at peristats@marchofdimes.com.

Q.

Why is data on PeriStats sometimes different from my health department's data?

A.

Data provided on PeriStats may differ from rates obtained by state health departments and vital statistics agencies. This could be due to multiple causes. As part of the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program, states are required to send the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) natality and mortality data for a given year by a specific date. Sometimes states receive data after this date, which may result in slight differences in the rates calculated using NCHS-processed data and state processed data. Another reason rates may vary could be due to differences in the way NCHS and the states calculate variables and impute missing data. Please see the Calculations section of the Web site for a more detailed description of the methods used to calculate specific health indicators on PeriStats.

While one strength of PeriStats is the ability to make comparisons between states/local areas or between any state/local area and the U.S., the web site is only a starting point for obtaining state and local data. We encourage users to work with their state health departments to analyze data in order to gain a deeper understanding of maternal and infant health issues specific to their area. Web site links for all state health departments are available on PeriStats.

Q.

Why are data for only certain cities and counties provided on PeriStats?

A.

In an effort to provide more information by geographic area, detailed data for certain cities and counties are provided on PeriStats. Specific criteria, including a minimum number of live births in a given year, were used to ensure that there were adequate counts of events to calculate a majority of the rates and percentages using National Center for Health Statistics data. Data from other sources used in PeriStats are not generally available at the city and county level.

Q.

For indicators that stratify by race and race/ethnicity how are race and ethnicity determined?

A.

Data provided by race and race/ethnicity reflect the race and ethnicity of the mother as indicated on the birth certificate. Race categories shown on PeriStats include: White, Black, Native American, and Asian, consistent with those reported by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Race/ethnicity categories include: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Native American, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic. Race and ethnicity are reported separately on the birth certificate. When race of the mother is missing from the birth certificate, NCHS imputes race using race of the father, if available, or by assigning the specific race of the mother on the preceding record with a known race of mother (0.3% of live births in 2001).

Q.

What are Healthy People 2020 Objectives, and why don't all health indicators on PeriStats cite an objective?

A.

Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) is a set of health objectives for the United States to achieve over the second decade of the new century. Created by scientists both inside and outside of Government, it identifies a wide range of public health priorities and specific, measurable objectives. HP2020 can be used by many different people, States, communities, professional organizations, and others to help them develop programs to improve health. PeriStats provides the Healthy People 2020 Objective for all health indicators that have objectives. Go to the HP2020 Web site for more detailed information.

Q.

Why do some printed Web pages look different than the page viewed on a computer screen?

A.

Web page formatting can sometimes be distorted if the Web browser is not optimized for printing. If the Web browser is not set to print background colors and images (which will be evident if what you print does not match what is on the screen), you can do the following to get the highest quality printed document in Microsoft Internet Explorer (other browsers may have similar options):

  • Select 'Tools' and then 'Internet Options...' from the menu bar.
  • Select the 'Advanced' tab.
  • Scroll down to 'Printing' and check 'Print Background Colors and Images'.
  • Click 'OK' and then print.

Also, some browsers print the page number and web address in the header and/or footer of the page. If you would like to remove this extra text, you can do the following:

  • Select 'File' and then 'Page Setup...' from the menu bar.
  • Delete the text in the 'Header' field and 'Footer' field.

Q.

What is the 'd link' in the bottom right corner of every graph?

A.

In the bottom right corner of each graph is something called a d link. The 'd' stands for 'descriptive text' and provides a textual description of the graph for users with visual disabilities. In the next PeriStats release, maps will also include this feature. The incorporation of this functionality, developed by CORDA Technologies, Inc., is part of an effort to make PeriStats compliant with Subsection 508(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972, which aims to make government technology accessible to users with disabilities.

Q.

What should I do if pop-up blocker blocked my web page?

A.

Pop-up windows often open as soon as you visit a website and are usually created by advertisers. A pop-up blocker is a feature in an internet browser that limits or stops most pop-ups from being viewed. When a pop-up blocker is enabled, an information bar message will usually appear at the top of your screen saying either "Pop-up blocked. To see this pop-up or additional options click here" or "To help protect your security, the internet browser blocked this site from downloading files to your computer. Click here for options."

There are a few places on PeriStats where pop-up blockers prevent the user from downloading slides or data summary pages. To temporarily allow a pop-up, so that this important information can be displayed, hold on CTRL (or press CTRL+ALT) as you click on the website link. .

Q.

What are the HHS Regions?

A.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) divides the country into 10 regions with a regional office located within each one. They are:

  • Region 1-Boston: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • Region 2-New York: New Jersey, New York, and the territories Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. (Data for territories are not included in calculations on PeriStats.)
  • Region 3-Philadephia: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Region 4-Atlanta: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • Region 5-Chicago: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
  • Region 6-Dallas: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  • Region 7-Kansas City: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
  • Region 8-Denver: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • Region 9-San Francisco: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the territories American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau. (Data for territories are not included in calculations on PeriStats.)
  • Region 10-Seattle: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

For more information on HHS regions and the contact information for each region, see http://www.hhs.gov/about/regionmap.html.

Q.

What are Confidence Intervals?

A.

Data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) are based on a sample of women in each state who have had a recent live birth. The rates of selected indicators reported are estimates of the value for all women who gave birth in that state in that year. The 95% confidence interval around the estimate is the range of values that have a 95% chance of containing the actual percentage for that indicator among all women in that state. When comparing percentages between groups (for example, comparing the percent of women who reported ever breastfeeding by race/ethnicity), differences would only be considered statistically significant if the 95% confidence intervals do not overlap one another.

Q.

How do I find city and county data?

A.

You can access a list of all available city and county data through the left hand menu. Follow the steps below to access the data.

Note: Data are not available on PeriStats for all cities or counties. If the location you are looking for is not listed, then data are not available for that city or county.

  1. Click the "reset" button to clear the menu fields.
  2. Click the "edit" link next to "Location." In the popup menu, click the arrow next to "Region" to open the dropdown menu and then select a region.
  3. Click the arrow next to "States" to open the dropdown menu and then select a state.
  4. Click the arrow next to "Cities & Counties" to view the list of cities and counties that are available on PeriStats. Select a city or county.

  5. Next, click the "edit" link next to "Format."
  6. In the popup menu, click the arrow next to "Format" to open the dropdown menu. You can choose to view all data, graphs, maps, or tables for the city or county. Select a format option.
  7. Click the "search" button. This will bring you to a page containing the data, graphs, maps, or tables for the city or county.



To contact the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, e-mail us at peristats@marchofdimes.com.