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United States Cancer Statistics (USCS)

Technical Notes: Data Sources: Population Denominator Data

  • Incidence Data
  • Mortality Data
  • Population Denominator Data
  • The population estimates for the denominators of incidence and death rates are race-specific, ethnicity-specific, and sex-specific county population estimates aggregated to the state or metropolitan-area level. The county population estimates that are incorporated into the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) SEER*Stat software are a slight modification of the annual time series of July 1 county population estimates (by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) produced under a collaborative arrangement between the U.S. Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) and CDC's National Center for Health Statistics with support from NCI through an interagency agreement. Modifications made by the NCI to the population estimates are documented in "Population Estimates Used in NCI's SEER*Stat Software." Several of the modifications pertain to the grouping of specific counties needed to assure the compatibility of all incidence, mortality, and population datasets. Another modification only affects population estimates for the state of Hawaii. Based on concerns that the Native Hawaiian population has been vastly undercounted in previous censuses, the Epidemiology Program of the Hawaii Cancer Research Center has recommended an adjustment to the populations for its state. The "Hawaii adjustment" to the Census Bureau's estimates has the net result of reducing the estimated white population and increasing the estimated Asian and Pacific Islander population for the state. The estimates for the total population, black population, and American Indian and Alaska Native populations in Hawaii are not modified.

    Population estimates for the denominators of incidence and death rates for Puerto Rico are sex-specific population estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and are not available by race or ethnicity.

    Population Estimates
    In general, July 1 population estimates are used to calculate annual incidence and death rates because these estimates are considered to reflect the average population of a defined geographic area for a calendar year. However, the populations of many counties along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas were displaced in the fall of 2005 by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    For these states, the population estimates were adjusted to account for the displacement of people in these states. The national total population estimates are not affected by these adjustments.

    The majority of the evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relocated to the following eight states: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, or Florida. The evacuee population was included in the 2005 incidence rates since all of the relocation states met the USCS publication criteria.

    Page last reviewed: August 20, 2014
    Page last updated: August 20, 2014
    Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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