Malignant mesothelioma is strongly associated with asbestos exposure. This paper describes demographic, geographic, and occupational distributions of mesothelioma mortality in the United States, 1999-2001. The data (n = 7,524) were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics multiple-cause-of-death records. Mortality rates (per million per year) were ageadjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population, and proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) were calculated by occupation and industry, and adjusted for age, sex, and race. The overall age-adjusted mortality rate was 11.52, with males (22.34) showing a sixfold higher rate than females (3.94). Geographic distribution of mesothelioma mortality is predominantly coastal. Occupations with significantly elevated PMRs included plumbers/pipefitters and mechanical engineers. Industries with significantly elevated PMRs included ship and boat building and repairing, and industrial and miscellaneous chemicals. These surveillance findings can be useful in generating hypotheses and developing strategies to prevent mesothelioma.