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Level of Education on Death Certificate

Started by financeguy, February 15, 2024, 08:18:35 AM

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financeguy

I just saw a death certificate in the normal course of processing paperwork outside my academic role and was surprised to see that level of education is listed. I'm not sure if this is the case in all locations in the U.S. issuing a cert or only a few but I for some reason this got a mixed reaction when I saw this. On the one hand, it implies the importance of education (it literally follows you forever) and on the other hand seems a bit classist at the one point in life (the end) where there is actually some amount of equality. I'm sure there's some practical reason for statistics or other red tape but I thought of the symbolic implications. Thoughts?

Puget

Death certificates are public records data, and a ton of health research uses them. If these sorts of demographics weren't included, we wouldn't know things like that those with more education live longer on average and all sorts of other things.

Of course, historians also use these records.
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apl68

Out of curiosity, I pulled up what, nearly as I can tell, is an example of our state's current death certificate.  I did not see where it had a place to list level of education.  It did ask for quite a variety of demographic information, and information regarding cause of death and other things one would expect to be there.
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Ruralguy

This must be recent and not all states. I've looked at a lot of older records from many states for purposes of family history research, and I can't recall any asking about level of education.

simpleSimon

In 2022 a relative of mine passed away in Maryland.  I was the executor of her estate.  The Death Certificate identified her level of education, usual occupation, race, and her marital status.

jerseyjay

Here is the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death form according to the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/death11-03final-acc.pdf

Note Section 51, "Decedent's Education."


kaysixteen

I can see the desire to use the death certif to collect this sort of info, but I guess I have to ask, who provides this info to the officials preparing the certificate?   What guarantees would there be that the ed level info on any given death certif would be correct?

jerseyjay

Quote from: kaysixteen on February 22, 2024, 11:18:52 PMI can see the desire to use the death certif to collect this sort of info, but I guess I have to ask, who provides this info to the officials preparing the certificate?   What guarantees would there be that the ed level info on any given death certif would be correct?

The CDC standard form indicates who is supposed to fill out which information. Information on cause of death, etc., is to be filled out by medical certifier. Information on education, ethnicity, etc., is supposed to be filled out by funeral director, presumably in consultation with the deceased family.

There is no guarantee, of course, that all of this accurate. (Although there is a guarantee that the subject themselves is not lying, of course.) Any individual certificate may not be entirely accurate, but in the aggregate, it is probably good enough to establish demographic trends.

simpleSimon

Quote from: jerseyjay on February 23, 2024, 04:31:39 AM
Quote from: kaysixteen on February 22, 2024, 11:18:52 PMI can see the desire to use the death certif to collect this sort of info, but I guess I have to ask, who provides this info to the officials preparing the certificate?   What guarantees would there be that the ed level info on any given death certif would be correct?

The CDC standard form indicates who is supposed to fill out which information. Information on cause of death, etc., is to be filled out by medical certifier. Information on education, ethnicity, etc., is supposed to be filled out by funeral director, presumably in consultation with the deceased family.

There is no guarantee, of course, that all of this accurate. (Although there is a guarantee that the subject themselves is not lying, of course.) Any individual certificate may not be entirely accurate, but in the aggregate, it is probably good enough to establish demographic trends.


Correct.