National Mortality Followback Survey, 1993 (ICPSR 2900)

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


The National Mortality Followback Survey (NMFS) Program, begun in the 1960s by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), uses a sample of United States residents who die in a given year, supplementing information derived from the death certificate with information from the next of kin or another person familiar with the decedent's life history. This information, sometimes enhanced by administrative records, is collected in order to study the etiology of disease, demographic trends in mortality, and other health issues. The 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey (NMFS) sampled individuals aged 15 years and over who died in 1993. Forty-nine of the 50 state vital registration areas, as well as the independent vital registration areas of the District of Columbia and New York City, granted approval to sample their death certificates. (South Dakota declined to participate due to a state law restricting the use of death certificate information.) A sample of 22,957 death certificates from 1993 was then drawn. To obtain reliable numbers for important population subgroups, such as persons under age 35, women, and the Black population, death certificates from those subgroups were oversampled. The 1993 NMFS survey focused on five subject areas: (1) socioeconomic differentials in mortality, (2) associations between risk factors and cause of death (use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, firearms, motor vehicles), (3) disability (medical condition and cognitive functioning during the last year of life), (4) access and utilization of health care facilities during the last year of life (number of doctor visits, days bedridden, nursing home experiences, use of assistive medical devices, availability of health insurance), and (5) reliability of certain items reported on the death certificate. Demographic variables include age, gender, race, marital status, birthplace, education, occupation and industry, and income and assets. The 1993 NMFS survey differed from the previous mortality followback surveys in several ways: First, it emphasized deaths due to homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury. Second, the subject areas were considerably broader (many previously-surveyed subject areas, however, are included for trend analysis). This survey was also the first to acquire national-level information from medical examiners and coroners. Finally, the complexity of the questionnaire necessitated telephone or in-person interviews. The 1993 NMFS was designed in collaboration with other agencies of the Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Series: National Mortality Followback Survey Series

Access Notes

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Dataset - Download All Files (69.693 MB)
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Study Description


United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Mortality Followback Survey, 1993. ICPSR02900-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    accidents, causes of death, death records, demographic characteristics, disabilities, disease, health, health care access, health services utilization, homicide, injuries, medical care, medical history, mortality rates, population trends, risk factors, suicide, vital statistics

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1993

Universe:    United States residents aged 15 years and over who died in 1993, excluding South Dakota residents.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data, medical records, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The SAS file is a concatenated file of separate NCHS-provided SAS program files. It includes a SAS input statement, variable list and labels, and programs that output unweighted frequencies and weighted frequencies, plus a sample Sudaan program (a type of SAS statistical package).

Per agreement with NCHS, ICPSR distributes the data file and text of the technical documentation for this collection as prepared by NCHS. The SAS program file has been altered to correct syntax errors and a processor's note has been added to the codebook to document these changes.


Sample:    Stratified sampling design

Restrictions: In preparing the data file 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.


Original ICPSR Release:   2000-07-27

Version History:

  • 2005-02-21 The SAS program file has been altered to correct syntax errors and a processor's note has been added to the codebook to document these changes.

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