All Records (Not) Being Equal: A Comparison of Coverage, Bias, and Utility for Five Mortality Record Sources

Celeste Stone, American Institutes for Research
Ashley Kaiser, American Institutes for Research
Christopher B. Bradley, American Institutes for Research

This study examines the coverage rates and biases of mortality record sources for a random, one percent sample of 4,159 Project Talent participants. Project Talent is a longitudinal study that began in 1960 by measuring the knowledge, abilities, personality, and demographics of approximately 440,000 9th-12th grade students. This study compares the National Death Index, Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, consumer and commercial credit bureau data, and Internet resources to assess the coverage for each source. In addition to estimating coverage biases of key demographics, we take a preliminary look into cost (e.g., dollars; person-hours) and flexibility (e.g., identifiers available; batch processing) to assess the relative utility for each source, and biases in early life personality and intelligence that are rarely available for a large, nationally-representative sample. These analyses provide timely updates to the demographic and epidemiological research base on current methods for ascertaining mortality status in the U.S.

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Presented in Poster Session 2