National Death Index
The National Death Index Final File for 2019 is now available for searching.
The National Death Index Early Release File for 2020 is now available for searching.
See completion percentages by state
The Early Release File is now updated quarterly.
The current searchable version will always be the most recent version.
The National Death Index (NDI) is a centralized database of death record information on file in state vital statistics offices. Working with these state offices, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) established the NDI as a resource to aid epidemiologists and other health and medical investigators with their mortality ascertainment activities.
- Assists investigators in determining whether persons in their studies have died and, if so, provide the names of the states in which those deaths occurred, the dates of death, and the corresponding death certificate numbers. Investigators can then make arrangements with the appropriate state offices to obtain copies of death certificates or specific statistical information such as cause of death. Cause of death codes may also be obtained using the NDI Plus service.
- Records from 1979 through current files listed above are available and contain a standard set of identifying information on each death. Death records are added to the NDI file annually, approximately 10-12 months after the end of a particular calendar year.
- The NDI service is available to investigators solely for statistical purposes in medical and health research. The service is not accessible to organizations or the general public for legal, administrative, or genealogy purposes.
The NDI Portal is the new way for users to create and submit an NDI application. Step-by-step instructions are available to guide you through the process. Begin your application here:
- Chapter 1 – How to Use the National Death Index: Steps in the Process pdf icon[PDF – 300 KB]
- Chapter 2 – Preparing Your Records: Record Layout and Coding Specifications pdf icon[PDF – 755 KB]
- Chapter 3 – Your NDI Results pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]
- Chapter 4 – Assessing NDI Output pdf icon[PDF – 545 KB]
- NDI Application Form pdf icon[PDF – 2.3 MB]
- Criteria to be Applied in Approving NDI Applications pdf icon[PDF – 1 MB]
- NDI User Fees pdf icon[PDF – 1.1 MB]
- NDI Transmittal Form pdf icon[PDF – 316 KB]
- NDI Early Release Transmittal Form pdf icon[PDF – 300 KB]
- NDI Repeat Request Form pdf icon[PDF – 144 KB]
- NDI Guidance on Duplicate Records and Requests for Free Reruns
- Articles Describing the Performance of the National Death Index pdf icon[PDF – 32 KB]
- Use of the National Death Index in Health Research pdf icon[PDF – 241 KB]
- Citation Lists for NCHS Surveys Linked to the National Death Index pdf icon[PDF – 22 KB]
How are death records matched with user records?
The NDI Retrieval Program is used to search the NDI file to determine whether a particular NDI death record qualifies as a possible record match with a particular user record. To qualify as a possible record match, both records must satisfy at least one of seven conditions or matching criteria, and the specified data items must agree on both records. See Chapter 4 of the NDI User Guide for the complete list. NDI users are encouraged to submit as many of the following data items as possible for each study subject: first and last name, middle initial, father’s surname, social security number, month, day, and year of birth, race, sex, marital status, state of residence, and state of birth.
How much will the service cost?
The fees for routine NDI searches consist of a $350.00 service charge plus $0.15 per user record for each year of death searched. For example, 1,000 records searched against 10 years would cost $350 + ($0.15 x 1,000 x 10) or $1,850. Fees for the NDI Plus service are slightly higher. Refer to the NDI User Fees document for all fees and for a worksheet to assist in calculating your total charges for a NDI search.
Are discounts provided for large volumes?
If you are considering submitting more than 100,000 records for an NDI search, you may be eligible for our fee discounts for large record volumes. Contact Lillian Ingster at (301) 458-4286 for more information.
Please send us an email at email@example.com to submit any requests or questions you may have concerning the NDI. Please include your name, address, and phone number in your email request, and let us know if you would like to receive a free NDI information packet. You can also reach us by calling (301) 458-4444.
Division of Vital Statistics
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road, Room 7316
Hyattsville, MD 20782-2064