Lucas State Ofc. Bldg.
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Welcome to the Bureau of Health Statistics. Two essential functions of the department are performed within this bureau: Vital Records and Health Statistics. This section will change periodically with new announcements and reminders.
Please check back regularly for the most recent happenings within the bureau.
ELECTRONIC DEATH REGISTRATION SYSTEM (EDRS)
We are pleased to announce the Electronic Death Registration System will be implemented on April 21, 2014, with enrollment ongoing.
Funeral Directors, Medical Certifiers (DO, MD, PA, ARNP), Medical Examiners who complete death certification registration will be required by state law to use the new system for all deaths occurring on or after April 21, 2014. The new system will make the filing of a death certificate more efficient and will reduce errors in the process. Death certificates must be completed promptly and accurately because these legal documents are used for administrative and public health purposes, as well as by the family to resolve estate issues and obtain insurance benefits.
For the past several months, the Iowa Department of Public Health's Bureau of Health Statistics has been providing training for Funeral Directors, Medical Certifiers (DO, MD, PA, ARNP), Medical Examiners, and state and local registrars, all of whom must complete a participation agreement and user-access form to use the system.
Death records are universally recognized as the primary source of death information, but registration processes have been labor intensive. The new electronic system totally replaces the manual paper process, including eliminating the personal delivery of records to physicians for completion and signature, extensive and costly travel by funeral directors to file certifications and labor-intensive processing of paper records at the county recorder's office and by the Bureau of Health Statistics.
How do I enroll?
Fee Increase Notice Information
Effective January 1, 2014, all vital records fee transactions will increase to $20. Requests without the proper fee amount may be returned to sender.
The increase includes the following vital records transactions:
Effective Monday, March 13, 2006, written requests for certified copies of birth, death, fetal death, and marriage records will not be accepted if they do not include:
Current processing time of requests is 4-6 weeks dependent on the method utilized.
If you are in the Des Moines area, you may apply for a copy in person. Application can be made in person in the Lucas State Office Building at our office in the front lobby from 7:00 AM to 4:45 PM and may be picked up (or mailed to you) the following business day after 12:00 PM.
Orders may also be placed via phone by calling 866-809-0290 from 6:00 am CST through 7:00 pm CST, Monday through Friday, except for holidays, or at any time at www.VitalChek.com. Processing time is currently 7 to 21 business days depending on the volume of requests in the office. If your request is being returned to you via regular mail, anticipate another five (5) business days to reach you. UPS orders will be delivered the next business day after processing.
Orders sent by mail – Anticipate mail to take an average of five (5) business days to reach the Vital Records office, and five (5) business days to be returned to you. Processing time in the office depends on the number of requests received and may take up to 20 business days during high volume times. Genealogy requests are accepted only by mail and will require a minimum of 30 days processing in our office.
To see information on how to obtain a copy of a certified record click on the appropriate link below:
All vital events occurring in the state such as birth, death, and marriage, and the bureau has an interstate exchange agreement with all of the other states. The bureau registers approximately 100,000 events and issues about 85,000 certified copies annually.
In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880. All original records that have been registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar.
Local registrars are located in county recorders offices and maintain records of birth, death and marriages that have occurred in that county.
County registrars do not have code authority to have the following on record:
All applications for certified copies of vital record events must be in writing and completely identify the record, as well as satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested.
Entitled persons include the person named on the record or that persons spouse, children, legal parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or legal representative or guardian. Legal guardians, legal representatives, and siblings must also provide additional proof of entitlement.
Certified copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates may be obtained from the state office of vital records by telephone, in-person, or through a postal service.
Fees are payable by check or money order made out to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In-person requests may also be paid in cash. Checks must be drawn from the applicant's account; money orders must be in the name of the applicant. Fees must be paid at the time of the application.
Requests for the purpose of family history take at least 60 days, regardless of the method of request.
Effective January 1, 2014, state and county fees will increase to $20.00 for searches and certified copies of vital records. This fee is for the search of the record and is non-refundable. No refunds will be made for overpayments of $5.00 or less.
Fees must be paid in U.S. funds to the issuing registrar's office. In some instances, the local county registrar (County Recorder) may only accept cash or money orders for in-person requests and money orders for mail-in requests. All applications must be accompanied by a valid, current government-issued photo I.D. (legible photocopy if applying by mail) and all applicants must satisfactorily prove entitlement.
Administrative processing fees at the state level also will increase to $20 as of January 1, 2014. This includes for amendments, delayed registrations, legal change of names, recision of paternity affidavit, paternity registry searches by adoption attorneys, revelation of county of adoption, private paternity establishment judgments, court orders, and any other action requiring an administrative processing fee.
The application fee for the Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry remains unchanged at $25.
Staff maintains a comprehensive data and surveillance system capable of monitoring progress on health objectives, identifying emerging health issues, and supporting policy development. The center regularly analyzes health data resident in the department, conducts research on health issues, provides access to health information for the state and public, and supports other health data activities as appropriate.
The center annually publishes Vital Statistics in Iowa, Vital Statistics in Brief, and the Iowa Health Indicator Tracking System, a software package of health status indicators. The center also publishes special studies on selected topics such as infant mortality, caesarean sections, county estimates of behavioral risk factors, and life expectancy tables.
Data and Publications:
Documents denoted by are available in Portable Document Format (.pdf).
For further information on Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificates:
For Statistics and Data Requests: