About NVDRS Data

Types of Data

Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) are available in WISQARS National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) module. Explore WISQARS NVDRS to find data for fatal injuries due to

  • Homicide.
  • Suicide.
  • Deaths of undetermined intent that may have been due to violence.
  • Deaths where individuals are killed by law enforcement in the line of duty (excluding executions).
  • Unintentional firearm deaths.

NVDRS includes detailed information on circumstances (events that preceded and may have contributed to the victim's death) as well as detailed information on toxicology, weapons, injuries and other incident characteristics.

Some NVDRS circumstances reported in WISQARS NVDRS differ by manner of death while others are common across death manners.

  • Circumstances for suicide and undetermined death relate to mental health history and status, whether the person disclosed intent to die by suicide and other precipitating factors related to events going on in the decedent's life (e.g., whether the person was experiencing a crisis, job problems, financial problems).
  • For homicide, circumstance information is captured on crime and criminal activity, and interpersonal conflict.
  • Circumstance variables for unintentional firearm deaths are related to the context of the incident and how the firearm was being used at the time.

This information is more comprehensive than other databases of deaths due to violence such as the National Vital Statistics System.

In NVDRS, a violent death is defined as "a death resulting from the intentional use of physical force or power against oneself, another person, or against a group or community."

Where the data comes from


NVDRS data comes from three primary sources:

  • Law enforcement reports.
  • Medical examiner and coroner reports.
  • Death certificates.

NVDRS data collection began in 2003 with six participating states and has expanded incrementally over time as funding has become available. CDC now provides NVDRS funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

  • 2003: Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia
  • 2004: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin
  • 2005: Kentucky, New Mexico, and Utah
  • 2010: Ohio and Michigan
  • 2015: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington
  • 2017: Alabama, California, Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, and West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico
  • 2018: NVDRS received funding for nationwide expansion.
  • 2019: Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming

The data provided in WISQARS NVDRS are updated yearly.

Population Estimates

WISQARS's population estimates of the resident population of the United States for a given year are produced by the U.S. Census Bureau under a collaborative arrangement with CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Please note that postcensal population estimatesare updated annually, which means that fatal injury rates from WISQARS prior to the update may be different.


WISQARS NVDRS includes data for the current U.S. Census Bureau's six single race categories:

  • White.
  • Black.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native.
  • Asian.
  • HI Native/Pacific Islander.
  • More than one race.

Data collection methods

The violent death statistics in WISQARS NVDRS module are based on codes in the International Classification of Disease-10th Revision (ICD-10)and/or manner of death assigned in source documents. For more information about NVDRS case definitions, including ICD-10 codes, see the NVDRS coding manual.

Each record in NVDRS contains data on all victims and alleged perpetrators (suspects) associated with a given incident. An incident is defined in NVDRS as one or more related fatal injury(ies) occurring within the same 24 hours as determined by a clear link in the source documents.

How the data benefits the public health

WISQARS NVDRS data can be used to:

  • Inform decision-makers about the magnitude, trends, and characteristics of violent deaths.
  • Educate communities about circumstances that contribute to violence.
  • Help decision-makers and program planners develop and enhance comprehensive violence prevention efforts.