National Violent Death Reporting System Module Help

WISQARS National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) module is an interactive database system that provides public access to data from NVDRS. WISQARS NVDRS module allows the user to run simple, customizable queries of NVDRS data that produce information such as:

  • counts and rates of different manners of death.
  • characteristics of these deaths including the circumstances surrounding them.
  • counts and rates of single and multi-victim incidents.

The process for customizing queries and selecting output options is briefly described below.

Getting Started

To customize the table displayed when you access the module, you will begin by clicking the "Change Filters" button near the top, right of the screen.

WISQARS™ Data Use Agreement

You are asked to agree to the terms of the WISQARS™ Data Use Agreement the first time you click on the Change Filters button. Click "I Agree" on the pop-up screen to accept the confidentiality terms for data usage and to continue to the "Data Filters" screen.

The Data Filters screen will allow you to make some key decisions about the data you want to view—such as data year, geography, intent, mechanism, and demographic variables—to create a report.

Some choices may affect the other data filter options that are available. For example, under the "geography" option, only states with available data for the year/s selected under the "Data Year" option will be shown. Below is a list of the data options available.

Data Filter Screen for WISQARS' National Violent Death Data System Module
Data Filter Screen for WISQARS' National Violent Death Data System Module

Data Filters: Report Type

This section allows you to specify the report type you want generated. One of the following six report types must be selected:

  • Rates and Counts: These are tables with death counts, crude rates, and age-adjusted rates.
  • Rates and Counts Including Puerto Rico: Rates that include Puerto Rico requires a separate Report Type because Census population estimates by race and ethnicity are not available for Puerto Rico.
  • Death Counts and Percentages: These are tables with death counts and percentages by known circumstances of death, place of injury, pregnancy status, homeless status, and military status (ever served in U.S. military). These can be further specified by making selections in the pop-up box to the right that appears when a user selects this type of report.

Rates and Counts vs. Death Counts and Percentages

Rates and Counts is the best selection when looking for information about the prevalence of different death manners (e.g., what was the suicide rate last year among NVDRS states?), while Death Counts and Percentages is the best choice when looking for more detail about these deaths (e.g., what percentage of homicide victims were pregnant at the time of death?).

  • All NVDRS Incident Counts and Percentages: These reports contain information on the number of violent incidents (i.e., one or more related violent death(s) that occurred within the same 24-hour period) based on the criteria selected.

NVDRS Incident Counts and Percentages

When combined with other data options; these reports may be especially useful for data users who want to answer questions such as how many violent death incidents involved single vs. multiple victims within a given manner of death.

  • Single-Victim Incident Counts and Percentages: Counts for incidents involving one victim.
  • Multiple-Victim Incident Counts and Percentages: Counts for incidents involving two or more victims. Incidents with two or more victims may involve one or more manners of death (i.e., unintentional firearm, homicide, legal intervention, suicide, undetermined intent).

Data Filters: Intent or Manner

Users can select the intent or manner of injury from the dropdown menu under "Intent or Manner." The death manners included in the WISQARS' NVDRS module are:

  • Suicide.
  • Homicide.
  • Undetermined intent deaths that may have been due to violence.
  • legal intervention deaths.
  • unintentional firearm deaths.

Please see the NVDRS Coding Manual for more information regarding case definitions and coding criteria for all NVDRS death manners.

Data Filters: Cause or Mechanism

Users can select the cause or mechanism of injury (e.g., firearm homicides, poisoning suicides) from the dropdown menu under "Cause or Mechanism." The causes of death included in WISQARS NVDRS are:

  • Firearm
  • Hanging, strangulation, suffocation
  • Poisoning
  • Cut/Pierce/Stab with sharp instrument
  • Struck by/against
  • Fall
  • Transport vehicles, including cars, buses, trains, etc.
  • Drowning
  • Fire/Burn
  • Intentional neglect
  • Other
  • Unknown

Firearm, poisoning, and struck by/against mechanisms have options that allow the user to run more detailed queries.

For more information about how these categories are defined, see the NVDRS Coding Manual section on "Weapon type."

Data Filters: Relationship of Victim of Suspect

Users can select specific victim to suspect relationship categories (e.g., spouse or other intimate partner, stranger) from the dropdown menu under "Relationship of Victim to Suspect."

About Suicide

The "relationship of victim to suspect" is not available for suicide, as there is no suspect category for self-directed injuries.

The relationships of victim to suspect included in WISQARS NVDRS are:

  • Spouse or other intimate partner (current or ex)
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Other relative
  • Other intimate partner involment
  • Acquaintance/friend
  • Rival gang member
  • Stanger
  • Injured by law enforcement officer
  • Other person, known to victim
  • Unknown
  • Babysitter
  • Law enforcement officer injured in the line of duty
  • Not applicable

For categories "Parent" and "Child," note that NVDRS follows this logic: The victim is the _________ of the suspect. Therefore, when the victim-suspect relationship is "Parent," this reflects parents who were killed by their child, while the victim-suspect relationship of "Child" reflects children killed by a parent.

Comparing different victim-suspect relationships

If you want to compare different victim-suspect relationships (e.g., comparing counts of homicide by an intimate partner vs. by a stranger), this can be done by selecting any specific victim-suspect relationships or all types and then selecting "Relationship between victim and suspect" from the "report layout - group results by option."

Data Filters: Place of Injury

Users can select the specific place where an injury occurred from the dropdown menu under "Place of Injury." The places included in WISQARS NVDRS are:

  • House, apartment, including driveway, porch, yard.
  • Residential institution, including shelter, prison.
  • Public highway, street, road, sidewalk, or alley
  • Transportation-related area (e.g., inside a motor vehicle, bus, train, train station, airport).
  • Recreational area, cultural area, or public building.
  • Commercial area (non-recreational), including medical service area, farm, industrial, or construction area.
  • Natural area, countryside.
  • Other specified place, including school, sports/athletic area, or cemetery.
  • Unknown/missing.

Data Filters: Demographics

Users can select the time period, place, and victim demographics that they wish to include:

Users can select one or more years of NVDRS data from the dropdown menu under "Data Year." WISQARS NVDRS has data going back to 2003, the first year of data collection for the system. The default setting is the most recent data year available.

Selecting Multiple Years

When selecting multiple years, the WISQARS NVDRS module will limit the set of states/areas included to those which have data for ALL years included in the query. For example, even though there is NVDRS data available from 32 states in 2016, if a user runs a query that includes data from 2003-2016, only 7 states' data can be selected and displayed (since only 7 states were part of NVDRS in 2003).

Users can select one or more states, the District of Columbia, and/or Puerto Rico from the dropdown menu under "geography". The default setting is "All Funded Areas".

Funded areas vary by years selected and include all US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Only areas with available data for all years selected will be shown.

Users should select "Rates and Counts Including Puerto Rico" under "Report Type" to be able to see data for Puerto Rico.


Users can select one or more victim race categories from the dropdown menu under "Race." The race categories included in WISQARS NVDRS are:

  • All Races
  • White
  • Black
  • American Indian / Alaska Native
  • HI Native/Pacific Islander
  • Asian
  • Multiple Race

A small percentage of victims remain in the category "Unknown/Other" race. Counts of victims classified as Unknown/Other can be obtained by selecting Race in the "Report Layout - Group Results by" option.


Users can select one or more victim ethnicity categories from the dropdown menu under "Ethnicity." The ethnicity categories included in WISQARS NVDRS are:

  • All Ethnicities
  • Non-Hispanic
  • Hispanic
  • Unknown


Users can select one or more sex categories from the dropdown menu under "Sex." Sex currently has three categories: both sexes, male, female. This variable reflects the sex of the victim as recorded on the death certificate. The default option is "Both Sexes," which would include both males and females.


Users have the option to select all ages, select one or more age groups, or input a customized age range from the dropdown menu under "Age."

Additional characteristics of victims

Users have the option to select the pregnancy, homeless, and/or military status of the victim from the dropdown menus under "pregnancy status," "homeless status," and "military status."

This provides different information than the basic output of the "Death Counts and Percentages by Known Circumstances of Death, Place of Injury, Pregnancy Status, Homeless Status, and Military Status" report by offering the capability to cross tabulate these characteristics with other filters. For example, users can filter by a particular location type (residential) AND a particular pregnancy status (pregnant) to know how many homicides of pregnant women occurred at residential locations.

Data Filters: Report Layout

Users can select how they want the results grouped (e.g., by year, sex, age, race). Up to four output groups can be chosen. In WISQARS NVDRS, you can group results by:

  • Year
  • Intent or Manner
  • Cause or Mechanism
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Age Group
  • State or Jurisdiction
  • Place of Injury
  • Relationship of Victim to Suspect

Users may want to run multiple queries to decide which table layout best reflects the data that they wish to display.

Report Type: Death Counts and Percentages

Output group options are not available when you select "death counts and percentages " from the dropdown menu under "report type."