Demographic Data

At a Glance Projects Publications Team


Human Cause-of-Death Database

Conducted by Dmitri A. Jdanov; Vladimir M. Shkolnikov, Inna Danilova, Domantas Jasilionis, Pavel Grigoriev; in Collaboration with France Meslé, Jacques Vallin, Arianna Caporali, Svitlana Ponyakina (all: French National Institute for Demographic Studies, Paris, France), Markéta Pechholdová (University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic)

Detailed Description

The Human Cause-of-Death Database (HCD) is a joint project of the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris, France, and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany. It is based at the MPIDR. In contrast to other databases on causes of death, the HCD provides time series with the causes of death classified according to a constant (fixed) list of causes. We aim to build reconstructed coherent time series based on the most recent (10th) revision of the ICD.

The HCD contains cause-of-death mortality data classified according to three lists: short, intermediate, and full. The full list is country-specific, it includes 4-digit or 3-digit items of the ICD-10 or another country-specific list. For cross-country comparability, we also provide mortality data classified according to intermediate and short lists of causes of death. These lists are exactly the same for every country. The intermediate list consists of 104 items, the short list consists of 16 items.

The following features make the HCD particularly attractive to its users:

  • Continuous data series with constant cause-of-death classification.
  • Basic summary indicators aggregated by age.
  • Detailed documentation.
  • Free and easy access to all data.
  • Uniform and easy-to-use data file formats.

To the extent possible, we follow four guiding principles: comparability, flexibility, accessibility, and reproducibility. The HCD provides complete documentation of the available data.

The first version of the database was launched on March 29, 2016, at Currently, it features cause-specific mortality data for 16 countries, and we have several countries with short data series that were started at the time the ICD-10 was introduced. We are working on data reconstruction for these countries. In the near future, these data will be replaced by longer and reconstructed time series with a constant classification of causes. The database is regularly updated.

The HCD was developed by INED and the MPIDR within the framework of the projects MODICOD (Mortality Divergence and Causes of Death) and DIMOCHA (Divergent Trends in Mortality and Future Health Challenges). 

In the future, the HCD will be embedded into the Human Mortality Database (HMD), the world-leading resource on mortality in developed countries. It will enrich the HMD by information on causes of death and it will provide easy access to harmonized data both on all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

Research Keywords:

Ageing, Mortality and Longevity, Health Care, Public Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology

Region keywords:

Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, World


Danilova, I. A.:
Moscow: National Research University - Higher School of Economics. (2018)
Remund, A.; Camarda, C. G.; Riffe, T.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2017-007. (2017)    
Timonin, S. A.; Danilova, I. A.; Andreev, E. M.; Shkolnikov, V. M.:
European Journal of Population 33:5, 733–763. (2017)    
Danilova, I. A.:
Human Cause-of-Death Database: background and documentation, Rostock; Paris. (2016)
Danilova, I. A.; Shkolnikov, V. M.; Jdanov, D. A.; Meslé, F.; Vallin, J.:
Population Health Metrics 14:8. (2016)
Grigoriev, P.:
Human Cause-of-Death Database: background and documentation, Rostock; Paris. (2016)
Grigoriev, P.; Meslé, F.; Vallin, J.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2012-023. (2012)    
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.