Report on the 2003 revision of the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death

Academic Article


  • The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is responsible for publishing Standard Certificates of Birth and Death for the United States of America. The standard certificates are revised roughly every 10 years. The revision process is designed to ensure that the standard certificates meet, as nearly as possible, the use for which they are intended at all levels: individual, local, state, and federal. The authors report on the most recent revision of the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death, recording the process and the role of the National Association of Medical Examiners in the process. Changes recommended during revision include requesting known aliases of a decedent and rearrangement of the certificate to provide more room for those items requesting dates and for describing how the injury occurred. New items have been added asking for information regarding traffic fatalities, the role of tobacco use in causing death, and whether female decedents were pregnant. Once approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, the new standard certificate will be made available to the states. Each state will have 2 years to adapt the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death to its use and to implement new state death certificates on January 1, 2003.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Davis GG; Onaka AT
  • Start Page

  • 38
  • End Page

  • 42
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 1