Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States and in the world. While sensational reports about the prevalence of suicide deaths abound, the real data may surprise you.
Suicide in the United States
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) estimates that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year from suicide. While suicide ranks as the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, the rate of suicide deaths has increased nearly 30 percent over the past two decades.
Suicide Statistics by Gender
Across states, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses there are stark differences in suicide rates for men and women.
- Men are over three times more likely to die from suicide than women.
- Over the past two decades, suicide rates for men remained four times higher than women's suicide rates.
- White people, particularly men, are the most likely to commit suicide, while black people are the least likely.
- Women with known mental health conditions are twice as likely to die by suicide as those without a known condition.
Suicide Deaths by Age
While teen suicide deaths receive more media attention, they are not the most likely age group to die by suicide.
- Adults ages 45 to 54 are most likely to commit suicide.
- Among 10 to 34-year-olds, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
- For males, the highest suicide rates are found in the over 65 age group.
- For females, the highest suicide rates are found in the 45 to 54 age group.
Causes of Suicide Deaths
The causes of suicide are often complex and intertwined.
- More than half of all suicide deaths are inflicted by firearms.
- Over half of all people who commit suicide don't have a known mental health condition.
- Relationship problems are the leading factor contributing to suicide.
Suicide Statistics by State
Rates of suicide can vary by state.
- U.S. states with the highest suicide rates include Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska.
- Nevada is the only state in the U.S. to see a decrease in suicides from 1999 to 2016.
- North Dakota's suicide rate increased by nearly 60 percent in the past two decades.
Death by Suicide Around the World
The World Health Organization (WHO) conducts extensive research into the health and well-being of people around the globe.
- Every 40 seconds one person in the world dies by suicide.
- Among people ages 15 to 29 suicide is the second leading cause of death.
- Three-quarters of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.
- Europe has the highest suicide mortality rate per 100,000 people of any world region.
- The Eastern Mediterranean region has lowest crude suicide rate per 100,000 people of any world region.
- Countries with the highest suicide rates are Sri Lanka, Guyana, and Mongolia.
Long-term studies show celebrity suicides can occur at higher rates and have an impact on suicide rates for the general population.
- After the death of a high-impact celebrity, a country's suicide rate goes up about 2 per 100,000 people.
- People in art-related careers are up to four times more likely to commit suicide than the average person.
- Men working in culture, media, and sports-related jobs have a 20 percent higher risk of suicide.
- Women working in culture, media, and sports-related jobs have a 69 percent higher risk of suicide.
A Growing Concern
High profile suicides and mass media attention highlight the growing concerns about suicide rates throughout the world. If you or someone you know needs help dealing with thoughts of suicide, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255.