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Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set


National linked files of live births and infant deaths link information from the birth certificate to information from the death certificate for each infant death in the U.S. The purpose of the linkage is to use the additional variables from the birth certificate for research on infant mortality.

Data Years Available: 
National linked files of live births and infant deaths were first produced for the 1983 birth cohort. Birth cohort linked file data are available for 1983-1991, and both period linked files and birth cohort linked files are available starting with 1995.
Mode of Collection: 
Selected Content: 
The Linked Birth/Infant Death data set includes all variables on the natality (Birth) file, including racial and ethnic information, birthweight, and maternal smoking, as well as variables on the Mortality file, including cause of death and age at death.
Population Covered: 
To be included in the U.S. linked file, both the birth and death must have occurred in the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
Starting with data year 1995, more timely linked file data are produced in a period data format preceding the release of the corresponding birth cohort format. The 2006 period linked file contains a numerator file that consists of all infant deaths occur.
Response Rates and Sample Size: 
Interpretation Issues: 
Period linked file data starting with 1995 are not strictly comparable with birth cohort data for 1983-1991. Although birth cohort linked files have methodological advantages, their production incurs substantial delays in data availability because it is necessary to wait until the close of the following data year to include all infant deaths in the birth cohort.

Mathews TJ, MacDorman MF. Infant mortality statistics from the 2006 period linked birth/infant death data set. National vital statistics report; vol 58 no 17. Hyattsville, MD: NCHS; 2010. Available from: