Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content
Scientific Data Documentation
Multiple Cause Mortality 2002: About Location Codes
Vital Statistics Geographic Code Outline for the United States


Vital Statistics Geographic Code Outline for the United States



The following pages show in detail the geographic codes used by the Division of Vital Statistics in the processing of vital event data occurring in the United States.  When an event occurs to a nonresident of the United States, residence data are coded only to the "State" level; several western hemisphere countries or the remainder of the world are uniquely identified.  Along with the Division of Vital Statistics codes, the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) codes are shown for several items.  Both sets of codes appear on the vital event public-use files.  Codes are effective with the 1998 data year and are based on the 1990 Census.


To aid the user in interpreting the geographic codes, a brief explanation of the codes and of the column headings/abbreviations shown on the following pages are:


State(St):  Each State and the District of Columbia are numbered alphabetically.  In addition, several unique codes are used to identify nonresidents of the U.S.


County (Cnty):  Counties and county equivalents (independent and coextensive cities) are numbered alphabetically within each state.


P/MSA:  Primary metropolitan statistical areas and metropolitan statistical areas are those established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) using 1990 Census population counts.  For New England, the New England County Metropolitan Areas (NECMA) are used.


M/NM:  Metropolitan counties (code 1) are component counties of P/MSA's. Nonmetropolitan counties (code 2) are not part of any P/MSA.


City or Place:  Cities/Places are numbered alphabetically within each State and identify each city with a population of 10,000 or more in 1990.


P/S:  Population size code for city/place of residence based on the 1990 Census.  Refer to the code outline given earlier in this document for specific codes and meanings.


Name: Each State, county, and city name is listed along with its respective code.  In addition, places used to identify nonresidents of the U.S. are also listed along with their codes.


FIPS:  For an explanation of FIPS codes, reference should be made to various National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications.


"So! How do I find Yavapai county, Arizona; or Tupelo city, Mississippi?"


Since counties and cities/places are numbered within State, the State and county or the State and city/places codes must be used to select these areas.  It is most helpful if the county is known when looking for a particular city since areas are shown by State, county, and city/place.


  1. Yavapai county, Arizona - State and county codes
    • NCHS:  03 state,  014 county
    • FIPS: 04 state, 025 county
  2. Tupelo, Mississippi - State and city/place codes
    • NCHS: 25 state, 032 city/place
    • FIPS: 28 state, 74840 city/place;
    or Tupelo, Mississippi - State, county, city/place codes
    • NCHS:  25 state, 041 county, 032 city/place
    • FIPS:  28 state, 081 county, 74840 city/place

This page last reviewed: Thursday, January 28, 2016
This information is provided as technical reference material. Please contact us at to request a simple text version of this document.