National death rates from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were calculated for the period 1972 to 1976 according to age, sex, and race and were compared to rates for 1968 to mid-1972. The time trend in the age-adjusted death rates from SLE was also analyzed for the entire period 1968 to 1977. The previously reported variable sex and race ratios persist through the recent period, particularly the greater mortality rates among black women during middle and early adulthood. An overall decline in the adjusted death rates in the younger age groups (1–49 years old) in each race-sex group is seen in the recent period.