Data and data formats

Explanatory Notes

The main input for the HCD is death counts by five-year age groups and detailed cause of deaths. These data should be considered as input for the database provided by country specialists. Usually this is a result of independent research work. Using these death counts and population exposures from the HMD (or our own population exposures for countries that are not included in the HMD), we calculate age-specific death rates, crude death rates (CDR), and age standardized death rates (SDR), including standardized death rates by aggregated age groups (0-14, 15-39, 40-64, 65+), by cause of death for three lists of causes of death.

All data are provided together with detailed documentation. For each country, there are three blocks of data:

  • Detailed data by cause of death
  • Population exposures and birth counts
  • Metadata files

All data series are provided after redistribution of ill-defined death counts. In addition, in a separate file we provide numbers of deaths by age groups and sex for the 3 categories of ill-defined of the intermediate list and for one ill-defined category of the short list.

Detailed data by cause of death

This data includes age-specific death counts and death rates, CDR and SDR by cause of death, after redistribution of ill-defined causes of death (according to country-specific methods described in the Background and Documentation for each country). Causes of death are classified according to three lists: short, intermediate, and full. The full list is country-specific, while the short and intermediate are the same for every country. For each list we provide the same set of indicators. There are two possible exceptions: 1) if for a country there is no reconstructed data series (i.e. as a temporary solution we provide short data series based only on WHO data classified according to the 10th revision), we do not provide any indicators for the full list; and 2) if we do not have permission to reproduce original death counts they are not published for the full list.

All data are placed in comma-separated (.csv) files, the first columns of which define country, year, sex, cause-of-death list (short, intermediate, country specific full), cause, and (if applicable) format of the age scale. For aggregated indicators, the next column provides the respective figure. SDRs are calculated using two standards: the 1976 European Standard Population and the 2013 European Standard Population. For age-specific data, other columns display 26 numbers presenting data by 5-year age groups. We provide data with four open age intervals: 85+, 90+, 95+, and 100+. If original data are available only up to age interval 85+, all older age groups will be filled by the missing values (dots). If data are available up to age 100+, we provide all open age groups starting from 85+ as well as provide data by 5-year age group up to age 100.

Detailed information about formats of the respective data files can be found in the Data formats.

Population exposures and birth counts

The usual source for these data is the Human Mortality Database. However, when HMD population exposures are updated, HCD update can be delayed for a while. Please note that in some cases we correct infant mortality and, respectively, birth counts. The structure of the data files is similar to cause-of-death data files.

Detailed information about formats of the respective data files can be found in the Data formats document.

Metadata files

There are five text files (provided as PDF files) describing the data:

  • Background and Documentation. This file provides important information about data preparation, sources of the original (raw) data, statistical system of the country, and all other information relevant for understanding the HCD data series..
  • Reference file. This contains an overview of original data sources.
  • Full list of causes of death. This is a country specific list.
  • Standard intermediate list of causes of death (104 groups of causes).
  • Standard short list of causes of death (16 groups of causes).
  • Standard list of the three ill-defined categories.