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National Death Index (NDI)


The National Death Index (NDI) is a central computerized index of death record information on file in the state vital statistics offices. Working with these 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. The NDI is a national file of identifying death record information (beginning with 1979 deaths) compiled from computer files submitted by state vital statistics offices. Death records are added to the NDI file annually. The NDI can be used by investigators to determine whether persons in their studies have died and, if so, to obtain copies of the matching death records from state vital statistics offices. NDI matches are available to investigators solely for statistical purposes in medical and health research. The system is not accessible to organizations or the general public for legal, administrative, or genealogy purposes.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (CDC/NCHS)

Data Years Available






Selected Content


Population covered



The NDI contains a standard set of identifying information on each death to be used in searches of the file to identify and locate death records in state offices. NDI users are encouraged to submit as many of the data items as possible to ensure accurate matches. Studies are subject to review and approval by the NDI review committee before matches can be made. Investigators can also obtain the coded cause of death using the NDI Plus service.

Response rate and sample size


Interpretation Issues


References and related web pages. Accessed August 28, 2010.