The 1968-1988 Compressed Mortality Data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics consists of a mortality data file and a population data file. Each record in the mortality file has eight fields. Seven describe possible categories (age, race, gender, year, state, county of residence, and underlying cause of death) within which a decedent can fall and the remaining field is a count of the number of decedents matching on all seven categories. There are records for every death to a U.S. citizen for all years except 1972. The 1972 data is based on a 50% sample and is weighted by a factor of 2. The population file contains Census national, state and county population estimates. The age, race, and sex detail of the population file matches the mortality file.

Counts and rates of death by age, race, gender, year, state, and county of residence, and underlying cause of death (4-digit ICD code or group of codes) for more recent years can be produced by CDC Wonder. (Choose "Get Information" --> "Mortality")

Use of this data signifies agreement with NCHS data use rules. Works referring to the datasets or codebooks should contain a citation to NCHS. Published material derived from this data should include a citation such as this at the bottom of the table: "Source: National Center for Health Statistics (span of years used)"

Both ".Z" and ".zip" files can be uncompressed with winzip. In addition, ".Z" files can be uncompressed using the UNIX uncompress command and ".zip" files can be unzipped with uncompression software. The compressed data files are 4-6 Mb, and the compression ratio is over 90%. To check ability to uncompress these files, download the small files compress.Z or These files give an example of how to read in .Z and .zip ASCII files into SAS for UNIX without decompressing the files. To download files in Internet Explorer, right click on them and select "Save Target As...". If the pdf documents appear to be all blank pages, get the latest Acrobat Reader at

NBER internal users can obtain the data from a UNIX shell at /home/data/cmf_new or on an NBER PC via Network Neighborhood --> NBER --> home --> data --> cmf_new

Updates and changes.


. UNIX Compressed ASCII Pkzipped ASCII
1968-1978 Mortality Data mort6878.Z
1979-1988 Mortality Data mort7988.Z
1968-1978 Population Data pop6878.Z
1979-1988 Population Data pop7988.Z


PDF Documentation document.pdf
. MS Word HTML Text WordPerfect
Readme readme.doc readme.html readme.txt readme.wpd


SAS Code

Original SAS info file sascode.txt
SAS program to read mortality files
SAS program to read population files

Contact with questions, comments, or suggestions.

Last Update: June 12, 2001 Created by Jean Roth November 20, 2000

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