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Final mortality status

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons aged 18 and older included in the 1986-2014 NHIS samples and sample adults 18 and older included in the 2015-2018 NHIS samples who provided sufficient data for linking (MORTELIG), MORTSTAT reports the final vital status (assumed alive or assumed deceased). For more information about the methodology to link NHIS records to the NDI, please see the NCHS report on the NHIS-NDI linkage methods and analytic considerations.

MORTSTAT is one of a set of mortality variables released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as part of the 2019 Linked Mortality File (LMF) update. The 2019 LMF includes mortality information for participants in the 1986-2018 NHIS samples with mortality follow up in the NDI through December 31, 2019. For more information on the LMF, including which variables it offers and the appropriate sampling weights to use when analyzing the mortality data, see the description tab of MORTELIG.

For further information on the NDI and the creation of the mortality variables, see the variable description for MORTELIG and the technical documents from NCHS on the creation and analysis of the NHIS Linked Mortality Files.

Related Variables
For a list of all mortality variables from the LMF included in the IPUMS NHIS, please refer to the MORTELIG variable description.


Aside from changes in the universe over time, MORTSTAT is completely comparable across years. Between 1986 and 2014, the universe for MORTSTAT included all adults 18 and older. In 2015 and later years, the MORTSTAT universe narrowed to only persons selected to be the sample adult.

For an overview of the LMF data, NHIS-NDI linkage activities, and more information about the public-use LMF offered through IPUMS NHIS, please refer to our user note on the Linked Mortality File.


  • 1986-2014: All persons age 18+ eligible for mortality follow-up (MORTELIG).
  • 2015-2018: All sample adults age 18+ eligible for mortality follow-up (MORTELIG).


  • 1986-2018