Redacted Death Certificate Literal Text File

Each year literal text fields are used to assign codes from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which is designed to promote international comparability in the collection, processing, classification, and presentation of mortality statistics. The reported conditions are then translated into medical codes through use of the classification structure and the selection and modification rules contained in the applicable revision of the ICD, published by the World Health Organization (WHO). These coding rules improve the usefulness of mortality statistics by giving preference to certain categories, by consolidating conditions, and by systematically selecting a single cause of death from a reported sequence of conditions.

In rare circumstances a name or location is copied onto the death certificate which could allow the individual to be personally identified. To protect the individual and to provide a rich source of information for public use these literal text fields have been redacted from the public-use Mortality data files.

Mortality Data and Documentation ( )

When a piece of personally identifiable information is found on a record that information is replaced with the following text, each of which identifies a specific:

  • <LOCATION> – address, body of water, landmark, etc.
  • <DATE> – date of death, birth, etc.
  • <NAME> – first, last, or other name
  • <IDENTIFIER> – piece of unusual text or circumstance that could potentially identify the decedent

Researchers can access the literal text fields in the Research Data Center.

Redacted Death Certificate Literal Text File (LTF) includes a single record for every death of a U.S. resident of the 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, and includes demographic and cause-of-death variables from the NVSS-M mortality files.

A second file containing geography and date data is also available upon request. Researchers will not be able to access the Redacted Death Certificate Literal Text File (LTF) and geography and date file together.  Researchers must first create a recode of verbatim cause of death text.  The geography and date file will be merged with the recode file by the NCHS RDC Analyst.  The recode and merge will not be completed on the same day.