What You Need to Know About Birth Records: Are they Public Information?

Understanding Birth Records: Are They Classified As Public Information?

In the United States, birth records are considered to be vital records managed at the state level. They are documented pieces of evidence that keep track of a person’s birth information such as their full legal name, sex, date, and place of birth, parent’s names, occupation and race.

Many people are curious about whether or not birth records are considered as public information. In this article, we will explore the matter and provide you with helpful insights and information.

What Information Is Seen In Birth Records?

Birth records are created at the time of birth and become public information after a designated period of time following the year of birth. The specific amount of time depends on the state in which the individual was born. In most states, birth records before a certain time period are open for public access.

The information contained in a birth certificate is extensive. It can include vital information about the individual’s birth parents, such as their occupation, age, nationality, and residence history, among other things. Some of these details may change over time due to factors like marriage, divorce, and remarriage.

Who Can Access Birth Records?

The individuals who can access a birth record can depend on the state laws. In most cases, only the individual whose name is on the certificate, their immediate family members (parents, legal guardians, spouse, and children), government agencies, authorized attorneys, and certain nonprofit organizations are permitted to have access to the document.

However, if a birth record is more than 100 years old, it’s classified as public information and can be accessed by anyone.

Why Are Birth Records Necessary?

Birth records provide valuable information for legal purposes, including proof of age, proof of citizenship, eligibility for pensions, social security, and various other benefits that require verification of birth. Furthermore, they provide researchers with insights into how populations have changed over time and can help with genetic research.


In conclusion, birth records are essential documents that provide insight into a person’s identity, genealogy, and citizenship. While they might not always be publicly available, the information contained within them is useful for legal and research purposes. If you need a copy of your birth certificate or someone else’s birth records, state health departments or vital record offices can offer assistance.

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