A proportionate mortality study was conducted on 809 deaths occurring among New Jersey primary and secondary teachers between 1980 and 1984. Three separate sets of expected number of deaths were used, based on U.S. and New Jersey proportionate mortality ratios in the general population and proportionate cancer mortality ratios. Increased cause of death was found for digestive, breast, other genital, and lymphopoietic cancer, and motor vehicle accidents for white female teachers; digestive cancer, heart disease, and nonmalignant genitourinary disease for white male teachers; digestive, brain, and thyroid cancer in black female teachers; and kidney and prostate cancer in black male teachers. Deficits in lung cancer were found for white male teachers and in heart disease for white and black female teachers. Mortality ratios were examined by duration worked and latency since first hired. Further analysis using a nested-case control methodology is recommended. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.