Industrialized countries tend to have a higher suicide rate than poor,
The U.S. has a moderate suicide rate compared to other
U.S. Suicide rates are highest in the western and rocky mountain
states. They are are lowest in the Northeastern states.
Canadian suicide rates are similar: highest in British Columbia, on the
west coast, and lowest in Newfoundland, on the east coast.
U.S. data: 2
There are tens of thousands of suicide in the U.S. every year. The reported number were:
1995: 31,204 deaths
2006: 33,000 5
number is probably significantly higher, because many suicides are
recorded in error as accidents.
Between 1999 and 2014, the annual rate of suicides increased from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 persons.
The most common method that men use to commit suicide (58%) involves firearms. Simply making firearms less easily
accessible to a suicidal person can drastically reduce their
chance of them taking their own life. Women more often choose
More females than males attempt suicide -- on average two to three
times as often as men. 5
More males than females "succeed" at suicide, by a
ratio of 4 to 1.
Comparison of groups within the U.S.:
The average suicide rate in the U.S. is about 11 per 100,000 per
year. This amounts to one completed suicide every 16 minutes. 5
Between 1 and 2% of all the deaths in 1997 were by suicide. This compares to
31% from heart disease, 23 from cancer, 7% from stroke.
Whites commit suicide at a higher rate, than African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics.
However, in 2007,:
"Hispanic female high school students in grades 9-12 reported a higher
percentage of suicide attempts (14.0%) than their White, non-Hispanic
(7.7%) or Black, non-Hispanic (9.9%) counterparts." 5
Young Native Americans have a very high suicide rate. "Among
American Indians/Alaska Natives ages 15- to 34-years, suicide is the
second leading cause of death." 5
Americans commit suicide less often than do Whites of the same age.
Married folks have a lower rate of suicide than do divorced,
separated, widowed and single people.
Suicide rates increase with age: 4
Suicide rate per 100,000
10 to 14 years
15 to 19
20 to 24
Whites over 85
About one in three American teenagers has contemplated suicide. An
Internet poll by About.com indicated that 50% of teens visiting that web
site had considered it.
Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death among the entire
Suicide has been reported as the second leading cause of death among
teenagers, exceeded only by traffic accidents. However, the
suicide rate among teens is actually lower than that of older persons. Teens tend
to have few life-threatening illnesses. Teenage deaths from
disease is quite low. Thus, the relatively few suicides among teens make
suicide a leading cause of death. 3
The reported U.S. suicide rate for very young people (10 to 14 years of
age) increased by 183% between 1970 and 1993. However, much of this
increase may not be real. In the past, there was widespread denial that
pre-teens could decide to end their lives.
Data concerning young homosexuals is somewhat unreliable. It appears
that about one in three teen aged suicides is by a gay or lesbian. Since
homosexuals represent only about 5% of the population, gays and lesbians
are greatly over-represented.
Among the most common faith groups in the U.S., Protestants have the
highest suicide rate; Roman Catholics are next; Jews have the lowest
Followers of religions that strongly prohibit suicide, like Christianity and
Islam, have a higher suicide rate than those religions which have no
strong prohibition (e.g. Buddhism and Hinduism.)
A person has a higher risk of suicide if their parent, close relative
or close friend has taken their own life.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today. Some sources may
have updated their information since we last downloaded it.