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Ministry of Health

Foreword

The Vital Statistics Agency is pleased to present the 2002 Annual Report, the one hundred and thirty-first published since the establishment of the Division of Vital Statistics in 1872. The tables, figures, and maps in this publication are based on information collected from registrations of live births, stillbirths, deaths, and marriages, and update provisional statistics released throughout the year in the Agency's Quarterly Digest.

This publication contains tables, figures, and maps that summarize selected information about the health of British Columbians. The report includes a detailed glossary, defining the terms and statistical methods used in the body of the publication, a list of the Agency's recent publications, and a set of Information Boxes to supplement the standard tables.

Beginning with the 2000 Annual Report the Agency has presented data using the tenth revision of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) coding scheme. Where possible, this report follows a format consistent with previous annual reports that present statistics from the current year along with comparative statistics from the preceding five years. Many changes in the codes and in the rules for selection of the underlying cause of death preclude direct comparison of data in ICD-10 with data from prior to 2000. Extensive manual reviews using translation tables in conjunction with recoding of data from ICD-9 to ICD-10 enabled the production of trend data. This approach is unique to publications of this Agency.

The 2002 Annual Report includes a greatly expanded section on trends over time in vital events in British Columbia. The addition of more information on trends allows the placing of the 2002 information and the resulting year-to-year changes in statistics into historical context. While considerable amount of extra information is included, most of the information on trends presented in previous versions of the Annual Report has been included.

The information in the 2002 Annual Report was produced using the Agency's VISTA data warehouse. The use of the data warehouse has greatly simplified the production of the information for the Report. In the future most of the aggregate statistics produced by the Agency will also be produced using the VISTA data warehouse.

Vital Statistics would like to acknowledge the many groups and individuals who ensure complete and accurate recording of vital events. Their contributions have resulted in continual improvement in the quality of vital event data.

R.J. Danderfer
CEO/Director
British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency