Missouri death records are compiled from death certificates which are filed with the Department of Health and Senior Services by state law (Missouri Revised Statute, Chapter 193). The death registration system has been in place in Missouri continuously since February 1, 1910, although changes in data items and definitions have taken place over the years.

Missouri cooperates with other states in the exchange of non-resident death records. Therefore, statistics on Missouri resident deaths also include those that occurred outside of Missouri.

Death certificate data can be used to assess the status of health, evaluate the effectiveness of programs and make population estimates.