National Vital Statistics System


Death Rates for Selected Causes by 10-Year Age Groups, Race, and Sex: Death Registration States, 1900-32, and United States, 1933-98

Persons with disabilities who experience problems accessing PDF files should contact or call 301-458-4688.

HIST290 lists death rates per 100,000 population for selected causes of death. Death rates are tabulated for 10-year age group, sex, and for the race categories all other, black (in some cases), and white. Selected causes include such major conditions as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Additional causes will be added over time.

These tables span many of the years for which the National Vital Statistics System has been producing mortality data. The primary publication series for disseminating mortality data is Vital Statistics of the United States (VSUS), which may be obtained at federal government depository libraries. VSUS remains the prime source for numbers of deaths and for a description of the nature, sources, and qualifications of the data. Rates, however, are recalculated as denominators are revised, and therefore, rates published in VSUS are superseded by other publications including these tables.

The most detailed description of the data can be found in the Technical Appendix of VSUS for each individual year. The most recent Technical Appendices are available online. Other important publications include Hetzel AM. History and organization of the vital statistics system. National Center for Health Statistics. 1997, which provides a comprehensive summary of changes in the National Vital Statistics System. Three publications presenting long term trend data and discussions of the qualifications of data can be obtained from federal government depository libraries:

Between 1900 and 1932, data are available for a changing number of Death Registration States. The specific States included by year are shown at the end of the 1900-1939 data tables and in Hetzel (1997). Beginning with 1933, all States are part of the National Vital Statistics System, and the tables henceforth are labeled “United States.”

The categories of race available and typically used in publications has changed over time. Some of the race terminology in these tables has been changed to be more consistent with current language; however, the data are only available as originally produced. So, data are not available for the black population consistently before 1968, and not at all before 1960 in these tables. The Technical Appendices and the report “Quality of Death Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin: A Summary of Current Research, 1999” [PDF – 310 KB] present qualifying information on reporting problems with race data.

Cause-of-death titles change from time-to-time. This reflects the periodic revisions to the classification (the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10, ICD-9, and earlier revisions) used to show cause of death and the specific list used for ranking causes. The classification is revised to incorporate and capture changes in medical knowledge. The revisions, in some instances, do create breaks in the comparability of a cause of death between two years. The Hetzel (1997) publication lists comparability study reports which should be examined in connection with trend analyses that cross ICD revisions. Comparability data will be added online over time.


Unpublished Tables

Source documents for the tables shown include unpublished worktables from CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality data and data from the Special Reports (1956) publication.


Additional Mortality Tables for 1979-98

  • GMWK26 Death Rates by 10-Year Age Groups and Age-Adjusted Death Rates for HIV and Detailed Subcategories by Race and Sex: United States, 1987-98
  • GMWK50 Deaths and Death Rates by 10-Year Age Groups and Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Alzheimer’s Disease by Race and Sex: United States, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998
  • GMWK51 Death Rates by 10-Year Age Groups and Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Alzheimer’s Disease by Race and Sex: United States, 1979-98
  • GMWK250 Death Rates for 72 Selected Causes, United States, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998
  • GMWK292A Death rates from 282 Selected Causes by 5-Year Age Groups, Race, and Sex: United States, 1979-98


Special Analysis Tables of 1979-98 Data Using an 113 Cause List