It’s not easy to collect accurate data on causes of death in the United States — or to understand the role that location plays in how people die. “Garbage codes,” or vague, generic causes of death listed on death certificates, have long left gaps in our understanding.

This interactive map uses new demographic and epidemiological data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to show estimated rates of death from various causes from 1980 to 2014. In the video here, FiveThirtyEight visual journalist Ella Koeze explains the many ways this more comprehensive mortality data can be explored.

Camera and editing by Tony Chow.
Additional graphics and research by Ella Koeze.