Summary studies of dairy cow removal indicate increasing levels of mortality over the past several decades. This poses a serious problem for the US dairy industry. The objective of this project was to evaluate associations between facilities, herd management practices, disease occurrence and death rates on US dairy operations through an analysis of the National Animal Health Monitoring System’s Dairy 2007 survey. The survey included farms in 17 states that represented 79.5% of US dairy operations and 82.5% of the US dairy cow population. During the first phase of the study operations were randomly selected from a sampling list maintained by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Only farms that participated in phase I and had 30 or more dairy cows were eligible to participate in phase II. In total, 459 farms had complete data for all selected variables and were included in this analysis. Univariable associations between dairy cow mortality and 162 a priori identified operation-level management practices or characteristics were evaluated. Sixty of the 162 management factors explored in the univariate analysis met initial screening criteria and were further evaluated in a multivariable model exploring more complex relationships. The final weighted, negative binomial regression model included six variables. Based on the incidence rate ratio, this model predicted 32.0% less mortality for operations that vaccinated heifers for at least one of the following: bovine viral diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, parainfluenza 3, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, Haemophilus somnus, leptospirosis, Salmonella, Escherichia coli or clostridia. The final multivariable model also predicted a 27.0% increase in mortality for operations from which a bulk tank milk sample tested ELISA positive for bovine leukosis virus. Additionally, an 18.0% higher mortality was predicted for operations that used necropsies to determine the cause of death for some proportion of dead dairy cows. The final model also predicted that increased proportions of dairy cows with clinical mastitis and infertility problems were associated with increased mortality. Finally, an increase in mortality was predicted to be associated with an increase in the proportion of lame or injured permanently removed dairy cows. In general terms, this model identified that mortality was associated with reproductive problems, non-infectious postpartum disease, infectious disease and infectious disease prevention, and information derived from postmortem evaluations. Ultimately, addressing excessive mortality levels requires a concerted effort that recognizes and appropriately manages the numerous and diverse underlying risks.