Mortality Detail Files, 1968-1991 (ICPSR 7632)

Published: Aug 10, 2010

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics


Version V4

This data collection describes every death or fetal death registered per year in the United States from 1968-1991. Information includes the month and day of death for deaths prior to 1989 and the month of death for deaths in 1989 and after, the sex of the deceased, the age of the deceased at the time of death, the deceased's place of residence, place of death, and whether an autopsy was performed. Causes of death are coded using the eighth and ninth revisions of THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Mortality Detail Files, 1968-1991. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-08-10.

Export Citation:

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In preparing the data tape(s) for this collection, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has removed direct identifiers and characteristics that might lead to identification of data subjects. As an additional precaution, NCHS requires, under section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m), that data collected by NCHS not be used for any purpose other than statistical analysis and reporting. NCHS further requires that analysts not use the data to learn the identity of any persons or establishments and that the director of NCHS be notified if any identities are inadvertently discovered. ICPSR member institutions and other users ordering data from ICPSR are expected to adhere to these restrictions.

1968 -- 1991

1968 -- 1991

The previous title for this collection was MORTALITY DETAIL FILES, 1968-1978 [VOLUME I], 1979-1980 [VOLUME II], 1981-1982 [VOLUME III], 1983-1984 [VOLUME IV], 1985 [VOLUME V], 1986-1987 [VOLUME VI], 1988 [VOLUME VII], and 1989 [VOLUME VIII].

The Reason-for-Death codes for 1968-1978 are different from those in subsequent years. A revised United States Standard Certificate of Death was recommended for state use beginning on January 1, 1989. Among the changes were the addition of a new item on educational attainment and changes to improve the medical certification of cause of death. In addition, for the first time, the United States Standard Certificate of Death includes a question on the Hispanic origin of the decedent.

Starting with the 1989 vital event files, a new policy on the release of vital statistics unit record data files was implemented to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of the identities of individuals and institutions. As a result, the 1989 and later year files do not contain the actual day of the death or date of birth of the decedent.

The geographic detail is also restricted.

There are no Parts 1-5 for this collection.

All deaths in the United States.

Death certificates filed in vital statistics offices of each state and the District of Columbia.

administrative records data



2010-08-10 The dataset order has been updated so that the datasets are listed in chronological order, and additional documentation has been made available.

2007-03-09 Datasets 27, 28, 29 have been updated.

2007-01-16 The setup files have been updated.

1984-03-18 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).