Death Data

Important Note: January 1, 2021, a new vital records law went into effect that made changes to vital records data release. The new law authorizes the release of:

  • Birth and fetal death record data with direct identifiers for research purposes with approval of the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)
  • Birth and fetal death record data with direct identifiers to government agencies and Tribal governments for non-research public health work by signing a data sharing agreement
  • Birth and fetal death data with indirect identifiers by signing a data sharing agreement
  • Death data by signing a data sharing agreement
The Department of Health is considering adopting rules necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the new law. Vital Records – Data Release Rulemaking may create a new chapter of rule to: prescribe the direct and indirect identifiers for birth and fetal death records; establish a formalized procedure for requesting vital records data; and establish fees for data files, analysis, and data requests. For more information about the Vital Records – Data Release Rulemaking or to join the Interested Parties list, visit the Vital Records Rule-Making Activities webpage.

 

Map of data
The Department of Health is transforming how we present data. We want to provide the public with information that is easy to interact with and easy to visualize. We created visualization dashboards that allow users to:
  • Interact with charts, maps, and graphs
  • Export the data as a spreadsheet.
Access the Death dashboards

Note: The Center for Health Statistics will no longer update Washington State resident death Excel tables. We now display the Excel table information on the data visualization dashboards.

The Department of Health collects information on deaths in Washington State from death certificates. Funeral directors collect information about the decedent from an informant, usually a family member or personal friend of the decedent. Cause of death information is provided by the certifying physician, medical examiner, or coroner. The causes of death are then classified using the International Classification of Diseases - 10th revision.

Data Files available for purchase

You will need a data sharing agreement (DSA) before data can be received.

The department retains the authority to provide data files as necessary for the purpose described in your request. For cause of death literals and names files, you will need to explain in your purpose statement why those files are needed.
For requests authorized to receive the statistical, cause of death literals, and names files, the department will produce one (1) combined file.

These are record level data files. Working with these data files requires spreadsheet, database management, or statistical software that are not provided.

How to purchase files

These are record level data files. Working with these data files requires spreadsheet, database management, or statistical software that are not provided.

A Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) is required to access all vital records data, now including death data. Sample Data Sharing Agreement

A DSA documents the conditions under which the Department of Health shares limited datasets containing potentially identifiable information with outside entities. By signing the DSA, the recipient(s) of the data agrees to not link information with any other information that could identify an individual or use the information to contact any individuals. Data may not be disclosed unless agreed upon in the DSA.

Data Files available for purchase

Death Statistical Files (1968 to 2020 final annual files and preliminary third quarter files for 2021)

Information about decedent (age, education, date of birth, race, occupation, marital status, etc.), the place of death and birth, cause-of-death codes, injury information, certifier type, dispositions, etc. Annual and preliminary files available.

Data Dictionary and Crosswalks- current (Excel)

Data Dictionary 1968-2015 (Word)

Washington State Death File Data Users' Guide, 2020 (PDF)

Cause of Death Literals Files (2003 to 2020 final annual files and preliminary third quarter files for 2021)

Includes text the medical certifier reported to describe the underlying and contributing causes of death as well as description of the injury. Annual and preliminary files available.

File Layout 2003-2015 (Excel)

File Layout Current (Excel)

Death Names (1968 to 2020 final annual files and preliminary third quarter files for 2021)

Names, Social Security number, address of residence, date of birth, date of death, sex, age and coded underlying cause of death. Annual and preliminary files available.

File Layout 1968-2015 (Excel)

File Layout Current (Excel)

Geocoded Death Data (1980 to 2020)

Geographic detail about decedent's residence (e.g., census tract, latitude, longitude, school district, etc.). Annual files available.

File Layout 1980-2015 (Excel)

File Layout Current (Excel)

Data Notes (Word)

Data Tables

Death data tables have been discontinued since 2016 and replaced by interactive dashboards. Some tables have been removed due to the need to suppress small numbers per DOH guidelines.  All remaining tables will be retired on or about July 1, 2022.

Death Tables by Topic - Includes information on death categorized by demographic, autopsy and disposition, and cause of death (including cancer and injury) characteristics.

Resources

Sign up for email notifications

Sign up for email notification for notification of data file availability and updates.
Our office has these topics: CHARS Data Users, Vital Statistics Data, and BRFSS Data Users.

Links