National Violent Death Reporting System, 2003 (ICPSR 4573)

Version Date: Dec 12, 2006 View help for published

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The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) collects data on violent deaths, i.e., suicides, homicides and legal intervention, including terrorism-related incidents. The system also includes some other types of deaths, namely deaths due to undetermined intent and unintentional deaths due to firearms. One of the main reasons for including these types of deaths is that there is overlap in how these deaths are coded. For example, a particular poisoning case may be classified as an undetermined death in one state, but in a neighboring state, the same case may be coded as a suicide or an unintentional poisoning. NVDRS is an incident-based system that collects data from different data sources, including death certificates, coroner and medical examiner records, police reports, crime lab data, and child fatality review records. The system collects data on a violent incident, the deaths belonging to that incident, the injury mechanisms leading to death, and the alleged perpetrators (suspects) involved in the violent incident. The relationship of the victim to the suspect is also recorded, as are the relationships of each person to the injury mechanisms included. State health departments participating in NVDRS typically identify relevant violent deaths as their death certificates are filed and then establish the details of the cases from medical examiner, coroner, and law enforcement records. Data collection is ongoing as the source documents from the different data providers become available at different times and intervals. The data represent the violent incidents that occurred between January and December of that data year as submitted by the participating states.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. National Violent Death Reporting System, 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: [distributor], 2006-12-12.

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The 2003 data year includes information from seven states (Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia). These states combined accounted for 12.5 percent of the 2003 United States population, but 10.6 percent of the suicides and 10.9 percent of the homicides in the United States in 2002.

crime lab data

coroner/medical examiner records

police records

death certificates

data abstractor input

administrative records data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. NATIONAL VIOLENT DEATH REPORTING SYSTEM, 2003. Compiled by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. ICPSR04573-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2006-12-12.

2006-12-12 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:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • 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 dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.