Comparability of race-specific mortality data based on 1977 versus 1997 reporting standards
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Comparability of race-specific mortality data based on 1977 versus 1997 reporting standards

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    Objectives—This report presents findings on the effects of fully implementing the Office of Management and Budget’s 1997 standards for collecting, tabulating, and reporting race and ethnicity in the National Vital Statistics System mortality data across all vital statistics reporting areas. It compares bridged- race death counts and rates based on the 1977 standards with single-race death counts and rates based on the 1997 standards, overall and by age (categories), sex, and state.

    Methods—Mortality statistics in this report are based on information from all death certificates filed in the United States and the District of Columbia in 2018. Crude and age-adjusted death rates are calculated with bridged-race and single-race death counts and population estimates then compared using rate ratios.

    Results—In 2018, single-race death counts were lower than bridged-race counts for all major racial and ethnic groups, overall and by age and sex. This is expected because in bridged- race data, multiple-race decedents are reassigned to single-race categories. The single-race age-adjusted death rate was higher than the bridged-race rate by 0.4% for the non-Hispanic white population (748.7 per 100,000 U.S. standard population versus 745.7) and by 1.5% for the non-Hispanic black population (892.6 versus 879.5). State-specific differences between bridged-race and single-race age-adjusted death rates were significant only for the non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander (API) population in Hawaii, for whom the single-race rate (488.9) was 10.3% lower than the bridged-race rate (545.3). Generally, at the national level, the transition to single-race mortality data seems to have minimal impacts for all major racial and ethnic groups on age- adjusted death rates; however, impacts vary by state.

    Suggested citation: Heron M. Comparability of race-specific mortality data based on 1977 versus 1997 reporting standards. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 70 no 3. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021.




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