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1. Birth certificates


  • Alabama

    Birth certificates become “nonrestricted public records” “[w]hen 125 years have elapsed after the date of birth,” but are not public records before that date. Ala. Code § 22-9A-21(f).

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  • Alaska

    When 100 years have elapsed from the date of birth, these records become public. AS 18.50.310(a), (f).

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Arkansas

    Birth certificates are exempt from the FOIA. They can only be disclosed for research purposes, and the disclosure of information that would identify a person or an institution can only be obtained upon a written request and with an agreement providing for the confidentiality of the information. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-18-304(a).

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  • California

    Public, except for those parts which contain medical and family information. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 102430.

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  • Colorado

    Vital statistics records shall be treated as confidential, but the department of public health and environment shall, upon request, furnish to any applicant having a direct and tangible interest in a vital statistics record a certified copy of any record. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-2-117(1).

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  • Connecticut

    Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-51 limits access to birth records to a municipality's chief executive officer or his agent, local director of health, title examiners, members of legally incorporated genealogical societies, the subject of the record or the parent or guardian of a minor subject. Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-53 limits access to birth certificates of adopted persons. Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-51a permits those acting under the direction of a legally incorporated genealogical society to copy birth records of a municipality for pre-1900 events. Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-41a provides access to all records of vital statistics to any member of a legally incorporated genealogy society.

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  • Delaware

    Birth certificates are public records “[w]hen 72 years have elapsed after the date of birth.” 16 Del. C. § 3110(f).

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  • Florida

    Birth records are considered exempt and may be open only as provided by law. Fla. Stat. § 382.025(1) (2020). Adoption records are also exempt from disclosure under section 63.162(2) (2020). Records identifying the natural parent, adoptive parent or adopted child may only be disclosed where authorized in writing by the natural parent, adoptive parent, or adoptive child over the age of 18, or, upon order of the court. Fla. Stat. § 63.162(4) (2020). The “cause of death” section of death and fetal death certificates and parentage, marital status, and medical information of fetal death records are confidential and exempt from disclosure. Such records are open to public inspection only as provided in section 382.008(6) (2020). In Veste v. Miami Herald Publishing Co., 451 So. 2d 491 (Fla. 3d DCA 1984), the court held that the medical certification of the cause of death in the death certificate is confidential.

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  • Georgia

    Birth certificates for births occurring less than one hundred years before the date of the request may be made available only to the person named on the certificate, certain relatives, a legal guardian, a person who can demonstrate a need for the certificate to establish a legal right or claim or upon court order. Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 511-1-3-.33.

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  • Hawaii

    Haw. Rev. Stat. § 338-18 restricts the inspection and copying of, and disclosure of information contained in, vital statistics records to certain persons.

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  • Idaho

    Birth certificates are records of vital statistics and exempt from disclosure under Idaho Code § 74-106(4)(e) and are considered legally “confidential” for 100 years. Idaho Code § 39-270(e).

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  • Illinois

    Closed pursuant to the Illinois Vital Records Act, 410 ILCS 535/1 et seq. and 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(a).

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  • Indiana

    Birth certificates are not public records. However, Indiana Code Section 16-37-2-9 requires local health offices to make a permanent record of and provide access to the following information from birth certificates: name, sex, date and place of birth, parents’ names and birthplaces, and the date the birth certificate was filed. The birth record of an adopted child, however, remains confidential under Indiana Code Article 31-19.

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  • Iowa

    Iowa Code § 144.43; Iowa Code § 144.13 (“The state registrar may share information from birth certificates for the sole purpose of identifying those children in need of immunizations.”).

    The department shall, upon request, provide the name, address, social security number, and any other identifying information of a registrant to the biological mother of the child; a court; the department of human services; the attorney of any party to an adoption, termination of parental rights, or establishment of paternity or support action; or to the child support recovery unit for an action to establish paternity or support. The information shall not be divulged to any other person and shall be considered a confidential record as to any other person, except upon order of the court for good cause shown. If the registry has not received a declaration of paternity, the department shall provide a written statement to that effect to the person making the inquiry. Iowa Code § 144.12A; Iowa Code § 22.7(30).

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  • Kansas

    Birth certificates are not available for public disclosure pursuant to K.S.A. 45-221(a) and K.S.A. 65-2422d(c).

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  • Kentucky

    Under Ky. Rev. Stat. 213.131(2) the state registrar is required to prepare annually an alphabetical list of all people born the preceding year. Id. The list must show the person’s name, the mother’s maiden name and the date and county of birth. Id. The list is an open record. However, Ky. Rev. Stat. 213.131(1) limits further access to birth records.  See 08-ORD-219 (denying access to State Birth Index).

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  • Louisiana

    “Disclosure of confidential birth information from which legitimacy or illegitimacy of birth of any child can be ascertained may be made only upon order of the court in any case where that information is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights and then only for that purpose,” except for sheriffs or district attorneys, who may obtain such information on written request to the state registrar. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:41(B).

    Birth certificates otherwise are only available to the person named in the certificate, their immediate or surviving family, the beneficiary of an insurance policy or trust, or an attorney acting on behalf of any of these. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:41(C)(1)-(2).

    However, researchers under the supervision of the State Health Officer may conduct approved research in the records, so long as rules and procedures are followed which will guarantee the confidentiality of the information in the records. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:41(D).

    Access to sealed adoption records requires a court order, the issuance of which is governed by Children's Code Articles 1188-1192. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:79. Such an order may only be obtained by an adopted child, or if still a minor, his or her legal representative. La. Ch. Code art. 1188. It may only be issued on a showing of "compelling necessity" based on inheritance rights, medical necessity, the registration of a biological parent or sibling according to Chapter 15 of the Children's Code (arts. 1271-1272), or other requirement of state or federal law. La. Ch. Code art. 1189. A curator may be appointed by the court to review the record to determine whether it need be unsealed. La. Ch. Code arts. 1190-1191. The disclosed record should contain as little identifying information about the biological family as possible. La. Ch. Code art. 1192. (Note that adult children and biological parents who register with the Office of Community Service can be matched, notified, and given information necessary to contact one another without opening the records, and thus without a court order. La. Ch. Code. arts. 1271-1272).

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  • Maine

    Custodians of certificates and records of birth, marriage and death may permit inspection of records, or issue certified copies of certificates or records, or any parts thereof, when satisfied that the applicant therefor has a direct and legitimate interest in the matter recorded, the decision of the state registrar or the clerk of a municipality being subject to review by the Superior Court, pursuant to 22 M.R.S.A. § 2706.

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  • Maryland

    Because birth certificates contain certain of the identifying information delineated in Section 4-101(j), they may not be disclosed. 63 Op. Att'y Gen. 659 (1978); see also § 4-401(a)(1)(ii).

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  • Massachusetts

    Records since 1915 are publicly available from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Boston, except with respect to records of out-of-wedlock births, which are available only to the child, the listed parents, an adjudicated father, and the child’s legal guardian or legal representative. G.L. c. 46, § 2A. Records from 1841 to 1915 are available at the State Archives. Earlier records, dating back to 1635, may be available from the clerk’s office in the municipality of occurrence.
    Contact information contained in the voluntary adoption contact information registry maintained by the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics may be withheld from disclosure under exemption (q) of the Public Records Law. G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(q).

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Minnesota

    Data pertaining to the birth of a child to a woman who is not married to the child's father, including the birth certificate, is confidential, unless the mother designates that the data be made public. Minn. Stat. § 144.225, subd. 2(a).

    If a child is adopted, a replacement record in the new name of the adopted person is issued and the original birth record becomes confidential. Minn. Stat. § 144.218, subd. 1. Information on the original birth record may be provided to a parent who is named on the original birth record, or to the adopted person if that person is 19 years of age or older. Minn. Stat. §§ 144.218, subd. 1; 259.89, subd. 1.

    Information collected in conjunction with registration of a birth or fetal death report that may identify risk for disease, disability, or developmental delay in a mother or child is private, but may be disclosed to a community health board in order to assure access to appropriate health, social, or educational services, or for administration of medical assistance. Minn. Stat. § 144.225, subd. 2a.

    Any confidential birth information may also be disclosed to persons performing medical research, provided those persons agree in writing not to disclose the confidential data. Minn. Stat. § 144.225, subd. 4.

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  • Mississippi

    Only available to those with “legitimate and tangible interest.” § 41-57-2.

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  • Montana

    Immediately upon the filing of a record with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the fact that a birth occurred may be released to the public. The complete birth record may be released 30 years after the date of birth. Mont. Code Ann. § 50-15-122(5)(a).

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  • Nebraska

    Are public records, although requester must have a “proper purpose.” Neb. Rev. Stat. §71-612 (Reissue 2009).

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  • Nevada

    See NAC 440.021.

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  • New Jersey

    N.J.A.C. 8:2-2.1 provides:

    (a) The State Registrar or a local registrar may only issue a certified copy of a record of live birth to a person who satisfies the following requirements:

    1. The person is able to identify the record;
    2. The person provides, at a minimum, all of the information requested on the Vital Statistics and Registration application form; and
    3. The person produces documentation verifying that he or she is:
    4. The subject of the record of live birth;
    5. The subject's parent;

    iii. The subject's legal guardian or legal representative;

    1. The subject's child, grandchild or sibling, if of legal age;
    2. A State or Federal agency requesting the record for official purposes;
    3. A person requesting the record pursuant to a court order; or

    vii. A person requesting the record under emergent circumstances, as determined on a case-by-case basis by the Commissioner.

    N.J.A.C. 8:2-2.2 provides:

    (a) The State Registrar or local registrar may issue certifications containing information obtained from the record of live birth to requestors not identified in N.J.A.C. 8:2B-3.1(a)3 so long as those requestors are first able to identify the record sought.

    (b) All certifications issued under (a) above shall state that they are for informational purposes only and are not to be used for identification or legal purposes.

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  • New Mexico

    “When one hundred years have elapsed after the date of birth or fifty years have elapsed after the date of death, the vital records of these events in the custody of the state registrar shall become open public records . . . provided that vital records of birth shall not become open public records prior to the individual's death.”  NMSA 1978 § 24-14-27(C).

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  • New York

    Birth certificates are governed by § 4174 of the Public Health Law and are not generally available absent a showing of a proper purpose. Comm. on Open Gov’t, FOIL-AO-4929.

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  • North Carolina

    Birth certificates, with the exception of the names of children and parents, the addresses of parents (other than county of residence and postal code), and the social security numbers of parents, are public records.  G.S. § § 130a-93.

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  • North Dakota

    Birth records, filings, data, and other information related to birth, except as authorized, are confidential. See N.D.C.C. § 23-02.1-27.

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  • Ohio

    Ordinarily birth certificates are public records.  However, where a birth record is changed and a new birth record issued, the original birth record is no longer available for inspection except by court order. Following adoption, a new birth record is issued and the original birth record ceases to be a public record. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3705.09, 3705.12.

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  • Oklahoma

    A birth certificate is deemed confidential and may not be disclosed. 63 O.S. § 1-323(A); see 2009 OK AG 33 (stating that “a vital statistics record such as a birth certificate, and the information contained therein, that is part of the Department of Health’s vital statistics system is confidential”).

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  • Oregon

    Under ORS 432.350, birth records for births occurring within 100 years of the request are exempt from disclosure, though abstracts of such records are made public. There are exceptions for certain family members or a showing of intent to use the information solely for research purposes.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Under a statutory exclusion, the requesting party is required to show a direct interest in the content of the record and that the information is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights. 35 Pa. Stat. § 450.804.

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  • Rhode Island

    Access to birth records less than 100 years old is generally limited to the person whose birth was recorded, his or her parents (if the person is a minor), his or her issue, attorneys at law, title examiners, and members of legally incorporated genealogical societies.  Birth certificates may only be issued to the person whose birth was recorded, his or her parents (if the person is a minor), and his or her issue.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 3-3-23(d).

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  • South Carolina

    Confidential except to registrant, parent, guardian or legal representative.  S.C. Code § 44-63-80.

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  • South Dakota

    Open. SDCL §§34-25-1, 34-25-8 and 1-27-1.5 (2). However, access to “out-of-wedlock” information is limited. SDCL §34-25-52.

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  • Tennessee

    Generally closed. T.C.A. § 68-3-205

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  • Texas

    Section 552.115 provides that a birth record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health or a local registration official is excepted from required public disclosure except that "a birth record is public information and available to the public on and after the 75th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official." See Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. Nos. OR2005-08527 (2005) (finding that the city could not withhold a city peace officer's birth certificate as it was not maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official).

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  • Utah

    Birth records may be disclosed only where the Bureau of Vital Statistics determines that the applicant has a “direct, tangible, and legitimate interest” in the record. Utah Code § 26-2-22. Subject to certain exceptions, “a birth record, excluding confidential information collected for medical and health use” also will be made available to the public “if 100 years or more have passed since the date of birth.” Id. § 26-2-22(4)(a).

    Supplementary birth certificates. If a person is legitimized by the subsequent marriage of his or her natural parents, he or she may request the state registrar to issue a supplementary birth certificate, indicating his or her legitimate status. After this supplementary certificate is registered, the original birth certificate is not open to inspection, except upon an order of a Utah district court, or upon the mutual consent of the person and his or her parents. See id. § 26-2-10(4).

    Adoption records. The Bureau of Vital Statistics may not release adoption reports (which include detailed health histories and genetic and social histories, but which do not identify the adoptees’ birth parents or families) to the general public. See id. § 78B-6-143(4). Subject to several exceptions, adoption records are open to inspection  y the public only upon express court order for good cause or “on the one hundredth anniversary of the date the final decree of adoption was entered.” Id. § 78B-6-141(3)(e), (f).

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  • Vermont

    Records of Vermont births, deaths, marriages, civil unions, and divorces dating from 2012 and earlier, with a few exceptions including foreign-born births, are available from the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration. At this time, pursuant to 18 V.S.A. § 5002, there are no restrictions on public access to Vermont vital records.

    New requirements for the safety and security of birth and death certificates went into effect on July 1, 2019. Now, only family members, legal guardians, and certain court-appointed parties or their legal representatives can apply for a certified copy of a birth certificate, as explained here:

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  • Washington

    See Vital statistics section above.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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