Notes regarding the use of the mortality mapping tool

On this page:


This application allows you to generate one map at a time, based on a set of variables described below.

The mortality rates generated on this web site utilize mortality data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics and population estimates from the Census Bureau. Rates per 100,000 person-years, directly age-adjusted using the standard population that you select (see details below), are calculated by geographic unit, race and sex for over 40 forms of cancer. For more detailed information, please review the Materials and Methods section of The Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the U.S.: 1950-1994. Note: The Atlas used the 1970 U.S. standard, and the current website default is the 2000 U.S. standard; rates based on different standards should not be compared. Furthermore, the Atlas used population estimates for 1991-94 that were projected forward based on the 1990 census. When the 2000 census data became available, new intercensal estimates for 1991-99 were computed, and these are used in the current website. The population estimates for 2001-04 are projections and will probably be revised when the 2010 census data become available.

Variable Selection

You must make a selection for each of the 10 variables prior to generating a map. The variables and available choices are described below:

Geographic unit (3 choices)

Year range (multiple choices)

Cancer (56 choices)

Cancers are arranged alphabetically with the exception of “Other and unspecified sites”, which is listed last. Some cancers are listed as a group – individual components of the group are sometimes available.

Race group (7 choices)

Sex group (3 choices)

Age range (multiple choices)

Standard population for age-adjustment (7 choices)

Interval type (2 choices)

The displayed range of mortality rates in an interval is followed by (xx;yy.y%), where xx is the number of geographic units in the interval and yy.y% is the percentage of geographic units with non-sparse data that are included in the interval.

Number of intervals (9 choices)

Default is 10 with the 8 remaining choices ranging from 9 to 2.

Color scheme (2 choices)

Downloading Data

A link “Download data for this map” will appear above the dynamically-generated map. This link leads to an Excel file that contains all the data that went into creating the map. Note: Once a new map is generated, the data for the previous map are gone!

A description of the Excel file content follows:


Sparse content indicator: 1 = sparse data, 0 = sufficient number of deaths to calculate a rate (see Atlas Materials and Methods)