Vital statistics are the primary source of data used to understand the mortality burden of dementia in the US, despite evidence that dementia is underreported on death certificates. Alternative estimates, drawing on population-based samples, are needed
..Of the 7342 total sample, 4348 participants (60.3%) were women. At baseline, 4533 individuals (64.0%) were between ages 70 and 79 years, 2393 individuals (31.0%) were between 80 and 89 years, and 416 individuals (5.0%) were between 90 and 99 years; percentages were weighted. The percentage of deaths attributable to dementia was 13.6% (95% CI, 12.2%-15.0%) between 2000 and 2009.
The mortality burden of dementia was significantly higher among non-Hispanic Black participants (24.7%; 95% CI, 17.3-31.4) than non-Hispanic White participants (12.2%; 95% CI, 10.7-13.6) and among adults with less than a high school education (16.2%; 95% CI, 13.2%-19.0%) compared with those with a college education (9.8%; 95% CI, 7.0%-12.5%). Underlying cause of death recorded on death certificates (5.0%; 95% CI, 4.3%-5.8%) underestimated the contribution of dementia to US mortality by a factor of 2.7. Incorporating deaths attributable to CIND revealed an even greater underestimation.
Conclusions and Relevance The findings of this study suggest that the mortality burden associated with dementia is underestimated using vital statistics, especially when considering CIND in addition to dementia