National Mortality Followback Survey

Maintained/created by: National Center for Health Statistics
Geographic unit of data: U.S. National, U.S. state

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Users are able to access information about national death and mortality data. The Mortality Followback Survey Program, begun in the 1960’s by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), uses a sample of United States residents who die in a given year to supplement 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, provides a unique opportunity to study the etiology of disease, demographic trends in mortality, and other health issues. The 1993 NMFS focused on five subject areas: Socioeconomic differentials in mortality, Associations between risk factors and cause of death, Disability, Access and utilization of health care facilities in the last year of life and Reliability of certain items reported on the death certificate. The 1993 NMFS is different from the five previous mortality followback surveys in several ways. It emphasizes deaths due to homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury. The subject areas are considerably broader. However, many previously-surveyed subject areas are included for trend analysis. The survey is the first to acquire national-level information from medical examiners and coroners. The complexity of the questionnaire necessitated telephone or in person interviews.

Data Notes

Users can download data from the most recent data collection in 1993. The survey sampled individuals aged 15 years or over who died in 1993. Forty- nine of the 50 State vital registration areas granted approval to sample their death certificates, as well as the independent vital registration areas of the District of Columbia and New York City. (South Dakota declined to participate in the NMFS due to State law restricting the use of death certificate information.A sample of 22,957 death certificates from the Current Mortality Sample was drawn. To meet specific research needs, the sample included 9,636 death certificates selected with certainty. There is an over-sample of death certificates to obtain reliable numbers for important population subgroups; persons under age 35, women, and the black population. Data is available for download in exe files. News releases and fact sheets are also available. Data is available from 1993. Data documentation can be downloaded and is clearly described. There is no indication of if or when additional data will be collected and updated.