Subnational Consistency in Cause-of-Death Data: The Cases of Russia, Germany, the United States, and France

By Inna Danilova, Roland Rau, Magali Barbieri, Pavel Grigoriev, Dmitri A. Jdanov, France Meslé, Jacques Vallin, Vladimir M. Shkolnikov

Dissimilarities in certifying and coding underlying causes of death may undermine the usefulness and reliability of cause-of-death statistics. Consistency in cause-specific mortality data within a country can be regarded as one criterion of data quality. This article assesses the subnational consistency in cause-of-death statistics in Russia, Germany, the United States, and France. We estimate the shares of major groups of causes in regional mortality structures and compare them with the interregional average values. We visualize the deviations on heat map matrices, pinpointing the cause–region combinations that deviate the most, the causes with high within-country variability, and the regions with unique mortality structure. France has the most consistent cause-of-death data across its regions, while Russia has the largest number of outliers. We also found that causes of death with no strict diagnostic criteria tend to display higher variability, while the shares of more easily diagnosed underlying causes are stabler across regions.

  • mortality
  • causes of death
  • data quality
  • vital statistics
  • validation
  • subnational data
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