Research & Analysis by Mark E. Hill

The Social Security Administration's Death Master File: The Completeness of Death Reporting at Older Ages
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 1 (released April 2002)
by Mark E. Hill and Ira Rosenwaike

To provide a more detailed assessment of the coverage of deaths of older adults in the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF), this research note compares age-specific death counts from 1960 to 1997 in the DMF with official counts tabulated by the National Center for Health Statistics, the most authoritative source of death information for the U.S. population. Results suggest that for most years since 1973, 93 percent to 96 percent of deaths of individuals aged 65 or older were included in the DMF.