Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans. National Vital Statistics System: Mortality (NVSS-M)

12/01/2006

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service (CCHIS)/National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
Description: The National Vital Statistics System Mortality (NVSS-M) data set is generated

from death certificate information collected through the National Vital Statistics System, an inter-governmental collaboration between NCHS and the 50 states, two cities, and five territories. The NVSS-M data serve as the primary source of information on demographic, geographic, and cause-of-death information among persons dying in a given year. Data are available on an annual basis. Variables include the following: year, month, and day of week of death; place of death; residence of decedent (state, county, city, population size, standard metropolitan statistical area, metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties); state and county of occurrence; demographic information on decedent (e.g., age at death, education, Hispanic origin, marital status, race, sex, state of birth); underlying cause of death; and multiple causes of death.

Relevant Policy Issues: Measurement of Health Status, Key Health Disparities.
Data Type(s): Registry
Unit of Analysis: Individual
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Races available on public use data sets:
  • White
  • Black
  • American Indian (includes Aleuts and Eskimos)
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Hawaiian (includes Part-Hawaiian)
  • Filipino
  • Asian Indian
  • Korean
  • Samoan
  • Vietnamese
  • Guamanian
  • Other Asian or Pacific Islander*
  • Combined other Asian or Pacific Islander**

* Other Asian or Pacific Islander includes any Asian or Pacific Islander (API) group that is not included and does not easily fall into one of the API categories listed above.

** The Combined Other Asian or Pacific Islander category are death records in which more than one API category was listed under race on the death certificate (multiple race deaths). This category was introduced with the 2003 data. Most of the deaths in this category come from California and Hawaii (98.3 percent of the category).

AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: The numbers below represent the 2003 NVSS-M public use data set:

Total number of records: 2,452,154
White: 2,106,697
Black: 291,706
American Indian: 13,160
Chinese: 8,831
Japanese: 5,920
Hawaiian: 594
Filipino: 7,557
Asian Indian: 2,542
Korean: 2,548
Samoan: 404
Vietnamese: 2,024
Guamanian: 159
Other Asian or Pacific Islander: 8,438
Combined other Asian or Pacific Islander: 1,574

AI/AN/NA Subpopulations: AI/AN/NA subpopulations identified are:
  • Native Hawaiian alone (in detailed data only)
  • Samoan (in detailed data only)
  • Guamanian (in detailed data only)
Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the data includes national, region, state and counties with population of 100,000 or more.
Date or Frequency: Public use data sets from 1968 through 2003 are available.
Data Collection Methodology: Data from all death certificates filed in the United States are compiled into an annual file, except for 1972 when only a 50 percent sample was compiled.
Participation: Mandatory
Strengths: Data sets may contain a large number of AI/AN/NA respondents. There are multiple years of data available.
Limitations: The primary weaknesses of these data sources are the quality of the race/ethnicity data. Because data are extracted from death certificates, the race/ethnicity category is not self-reported and is often completed by a funeral director based on information received from a family member/proxy on the race/ethnicity of the deceased individual. According to the NCHS, these data are particularly poor for the American Indian/Alaska Native category, as data quality checks of the racial/ethnic distribution of the deceased in this category are lower than the distribution represented in Census estimates.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) conducted a study on racial misclassification of mortality data and produced adjustments to apply to the rates to compensate for the misreporting of AI/AN race on the state death certificates. This study found that misidentification varies substantially among states and the IHS service areas. IHS now adjusts the NVSS-M data to correct this misidentification and presents both adjusted and unadjusted data in two major IHS publications entitled: Regional Differences in Indian Health and Trends in Indian Health. (The reports are currently being updated to include the latest adjustment factors.)

Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: Public use data sets are available at no cost. Potential users are advised to contact the Mortality Statistics Branch at (301) 458-4666.

Data on injury deaths for the race categories American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian/Pacific Islander are available from CDCs web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/

Contact Information: General Contact for Mortality statistics data:
Robert N. Anderson, Ph.D.
Branch Chief, Mortality Statistics Branch
Division of Vital Statistics
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3311 Toledo Rd., Room 7318
Hyattsville, Maryland 20782
(301) 458-4073

For information on accessing mortality files, contact: Ken Kochanek (301) 458-4319

 

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