Suicide Rates | Suicide in America 2019
By definition, suicide refers to instances in which people have ended their lives by way of their own hands. In comparison to other situations resulting in death, suicide is considered a separate category of its own, seeing as all other circumstances that end in death are not self-inflicted. On that note, it is important to recognize that suicide is not a form of murder.
Murder requires that one person has killed another person. Since there is only one person involved in cases of suicide, the act of dying by suicide is not the same as being murdered. Even technically speaking, suicide is not the act of murdering oneself. It is not classified as murder, for all intents and purposes.
Furthermore, it is imperative to make this distinguishment between murder and suicide for legal purposes. Murder is a crime, and as such, it is punishable by law. Suicide, on the other hand, is not a crime. Not only can you literally not be punished for dying by suicide, but you also cannot be legally reprimanded for attempting to kill yourself. People who attempt suicide are not criminals, nor are people who unfortunately succeed in dying by suicide.
Suicide in the United States of America has a curious statistic attached to it. Unlike most other parts of the world, ninety percent of all suicides in the United States are tied to pre-existing mental health conditions. As a result of this proven fact, many suicide prevention organizations double as mental health advocacy groups.
It is a terrifying thought to realize that most people who die by suicide in the United States are suffering from a mental illness. This is particularly daunting because the thoughts associated with many mental health problems can warp reality and make people think that suicide is their only option. From a rational and healthy perspective, you can recognize that nobody needs to resort to suicide.
However, for people who either think about, attempt, or carry out suicide, their brains are telling them that suicide is their only escape from whatever is troubling them. If you or someone that you know is experiencing thoughts like these, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you will be connected with someone who is happy to listen to you for as long as you need.
Whether you are in dire need of someone to hear you out, or you are at your lowest point and you have no idea where else to turn, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always there for you, as well as anyone else who is battling thoughts of suicide. The conversations are kept confidential, meaning whomever you speak with cannot share your discussion with anyone else. Also, the hotline is always up and running, so you can call the toll-free number morning or night, rain or shine.
Organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline work endlessly to combat the shockingly high rates of suicide in the United States. On second thought, these statistics are not as shocking when you do research and take all of the details into consideration. From race and gender, to professions and age, there are so many factors that play key roles in the high suicide rates across the United States of America.
When you put the suicide statistics of America into perspective, roughly one hundred twenty-three people die by suicide on a daily basis in the United States. This information has been presented as a result of research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On an annual basis, this daily statistic means that more than forty-four thousand people die by suicide in America annually. The most recent estimate was about 44,965 Americans in one year, though this number is thought to have sky-rocketed since then.
There are a lot of pieces that must fit into the puzzle before someone decides that suicide is their one and only option. Suicide is usually not the very first thought someone has when the going gets tough and life feels impossible. Instead, suicide tends to be the last resort that people turn to when all other options seem unreasonable or inapplicable.
We know that mental health is a huge contributing factor, but how do other variables contribute to the suicide rates in America? Let’s find out by analyzing data collected over the years.
Suicide Rates by Gender in America
On a grander scale, approximately two-thirds of all suicides across the entire globe involve the self-inflicted deaths of men. In the United States alone, this trend continues on, with men dying by suicide about three to five times more frequently than women. There is a serious disparity between the suicides of men in the United States and the suicides of women in America. Men outnumber women in terms of which gender has a higher suicide rate.
If you think back, you'll remember that we lightly touched on the role that unstable mental health conditions play in the suicide rates of America. To reiterate, people who attempt or die by suicide are far more likely to have an untreated mental illness than people who do not die by suicide. Mental health and suicide often go hand-in-hand, with mental illnesses leading to more deaths by suicide than any other contributing factor.
Many people reach out for help when they are experiencing low moods and strong desires to end their lives. However, the number of people who receive treatment for their mental health episodes is probably much lower than you would think. In America, just about half of all people who need help managing symptoms and pulling themselves out of mental health problems receive the treatment they need. That leaves half of all Americans who need treatment without the resources and assistance that could literally save their lives.
Now, mental illness is a topic that continues to receive endless amounts of stigmatization. People do not speak well of individuals who are mentally unstable, and given the nature of American society, many people who are experiencing mental health issues are also very unlikely to receive treatment for the problem at hand.
Even when people crave better lives for themselves, they will often shy away from reaching out to mental health professionals due to the stigma that surrounds mental health in the United States. While this stigma transcends the details of a situation and applies to all cases of mental illness, men are subjected to more harsh criticisms about mental health issues that women.
You can probably tell where this is going, given the fact that more men than women die by suicide on an annual basis in America. According to the findings of many studies conducted on the subject, anywhere from thirteen percent to twenty-one percent of women are likely to receive professional attention and care for mental illnesses over their male counterparts.
Now, talking to a therapist on a consistent basis and receiving medical care from a psychiatrist as needed are not saving graces. These conditions certainly do help people facing suicidal thoughts, but medical professionals do not heal people of their suicidal tendencies.
So, even if someone has been under the care of a mental health professional, it does not necessarily mean that the individual will be free of their suicidal thoughts by any means. Therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and other suggestions often provided to people with thoughts of suicide do not always work. This topic should always be approached on a case-by-case basis because the details matter more than you may think.
For example, about forty-one to fifty-eight percent of men who died by suicide were patients of mental health professionals at the time of their deaths. Similarly, between seventy-two and eighty-nine percent of women who died by suicide were being seen by mental health professionals as well.
Take a look at these percentage ranges. Even though women and men are susceptible to death by suicide while simultaneously being seen by a mental health professional, the percentages of men who carried out their suicidal ideations still outweight the percentages of women who died by suicide. In both directions, there is a thirty-one percent discrepancy between men and women who passed away as a result of suicide.
Suicide Rates by Profession in America
Other than a family history of suicide, domestic violence, and substance abuse, a couple of other risk factors for higher suicide rates includes the feeling of isolation as well as incredibly high stress levels. The reason why so many Americans do not like the jobs they have is that many people work in high stress environments.
With lower wages and little to no benefits, a high percentage of American people consider their work to be a major stressor. In fact, eight-five percent of people are dissatisfied with their occupations, according to a poll conducted by Gallup.
Where professions are concerned, the possibility of being laid off looming over the employees' heads can also increase the possibility of suicide. If you put yourself in the shoes of people work in industries where permanent employment is not promised, you can probably imagine that always worrying about potentially losing your job can cause a lot of fear to arise in your mind.
Constant anxiety slowly leads to poor health, and the gradual decline of someone's wellbeing can lead to thoughts of suicide, especially when there isn't anything in their lives that inspires them to push through unfortunate siutations that they encounter.
There are roughly one hundred million people who work full-time jobs in the United States. Of the full-time employees, just over fifty-one percent of them view their jobs as mindless, and their only incentive for going into work five days a week is the paycheck that comes bi-weekly. When people do not feel fulfilled by their work, they tend to slack and fail to reach their potential.
Studies that have looked into suicide rates based on professions have uncovered many trends. Depending on the particular industry, the majority of working Americans are anywhere between sixteen and sixty-five years of age. In the year 2000, about thirteen people for every one hundred thousand workers died by suicide.
Just sixteen years later, in 2016, that number rose to roughly eighteen people per one hundred thousand working Americans, which makes for a thirty-four percent increase in the suicide rates of working adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top three professions with the highest suicide rates among men are farmers, lumberjacks, and fishermen. Following very closely behind were carpenters, miners, electricians, construction workers, and mechanics.
But when women are taken into consideration as well, people who have the higher suicide rates are construction workers, extraction professionals, and people who work in the realm of repair and installation services.
Here is a list of popular professions in order of the highest to the lowest suicide rates within the workplace…
- Construction workers and extraction professionals
- Installation workers, maintenance personnel, and repair men/women
- Sports stars
- Media personnel
- Transportation providers
- Production assistants and professionals
- People who work in protective services
- Forestry professionals
- Food industry workers
- Sales officials
- Computer scientists
- Legal personnel
- Scientists of many kinds
- Health care practitioners
- Health technicians
- Managers, assistant managers, and the likes
- Health care support team members
- Personal care service providers
- Community employees
- Social service workers
- Office employees
- Financial advisors
With educators and librarians being the least likely to die by suicide, construction workers are at a very high risk of choosing suicide as a means to an end. The strenuous nature of the profession is not only physically draining, but the expectations and manual labor they are expected to perform can be very taxing on the mental health of construction workers, too.
The order of occupations by suicide rates is very interesting to reflet on, but the specific values of the suicide rates by profession can be very interesting as well. Next to each profession is a value that reflects the number of people who die by suicide, per one hundred thousand people in the industry.
- Construction workers and extraction professionals -- 52.1
- Installation workers, maintenance personnel, and repair men/women -- 37.8
- Artists -- 27.3
- Designers -- 27.3
- Entertainers -- 27.3
- Sports stars -- 27.3
- Media personnel -- 27.3
- Transportation providers -- 26.8
- Movers -- 26.8
- Production assistants and professionals -- 24.3
- People who work in protective services -- 24.2
- Farmers -- 18.7
- Fishermen -- 18.7
- Forestry professionals -- 18.7
- Architects -- 17.6
- Engineers -- 17.6
- Food industry workers -- 14.8
- Sales officials -- 14.2
- Computer scientists -- 14.0
- Mathematicians -- 14.0
- Legal personnel -- 13.8
- Scientists of many kinds -- 12.8
- Health care practitioners -- 12.5
- Health technicians -- 12.5
- Managers, assistant managers, and the likes -- 12.5
- Health care support team members -- 11.9
- Personal care service providers -- 10.1
- Community employees -- 9.0
- Social service workers -- 9.0
- Office employees -- 8.6
- Financial advisors -- 8.5
- Educators -- 5.3
- Librarians -- 5.3
There is a difference of 46.8 between the lowest suicide rates and the highest suicide rates. Comparing educators and librarians to construction workers and extraction experts, the latter group is nearly ten times more likely to die by suicide than the former.
Teenage Suicide Statistics in the United States
The teenage years are some of the most turbulent and insecure times in our lives. Not only is the human brain developing more and more, but all teenagers are beginning to think about where they fit in the world. For some, wondering who you are and trying to figure out where you belong can be empowering. For others, this process is isolating, stressful, and daunting, among many other unwanted emotional states.
When children grow and become teenagers, they notice that a lot of things are shifting in their lives. Unfortunately, this transitional period is strongly correlated with feelings of helplessness, isolation, and despair, all of which are very common among people who ultimately die by suicide.
Among teenagers between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, suicide is the second most common cause of death among this age group. For teenagers enrolled in high school, more than three thousand teenagers between ninth grade and twelfth grade attempt suicide on an annual basis.
As a result of these frightening statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administer a survey, known as the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey, to high schoolers across the country. It is a measure by which the CDC monitors the mental health of high schoolers in the United States of America.
Suicide is the cause of death for more teenagers than all of these fatal situations combined...
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Life-threatening birth defects
- Severe cases of pneumonia
- Strokes and heart attacks
When teenagers begin to age out of their teenage years and enter their young adult lives, the likelihood of committing suicide reduces drastically. However, the goal is to help teenagers make it through their teenage years in order to blossom as young adults.
In 2017, data was collected that reflects the number of suicides that were successful among teenagers between the ages of fifteen and nineteen years old. The information gathered shows the number of suicides per 100,000 people within this age group in America. In the year 2000, about eight teenages, per 100,000 teenagers, died by suicide.
The suicide rates for this age group between 2001 and 2017 are as follows...
- 2001: about 8 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2002: about 8 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2003: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2004: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2005: about 8 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2006: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2007: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2008: about 6 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2009: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2010: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2011: about 7 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2012: about 8 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2013: about 8 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2014: about 9 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2015: about 10 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2016: about 10 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
- 2017: about 12 deaths per 100,000 suicide attempts
Looking at these values, it is evident that the number of suicide-related deaths among teenagers has been climbing over the years. Between 2001 and 2017, the average number of teenagers who died by suicide increased by four teenagers per 100,000 teenagers.
Among teenagers who either exhibit symptoms of suicide, or who ultimately die by self-inflicted wounds, there are many common causes, situations, and circumstances that lead to these outcomes.
Some of the similarities among cases of teenage suicides include…
- Academic failures and learning disabilities
- Anger that builds up without a release
- Being the victim or perpetrator of bullying
- Domestic violence at home
- Parents who are getting, or have gotten, a divorce
- No friends or family to talk to
- Social isolation or ostracisation
- Birth defects or disabilities that are not understood by peers
- Being the victim of sexual assault and/or rape
- Eating disorders and other self-harm behaviors
- Loss of a loved one, whether familial or relationship-wise
- Detachment from the world around them
- Substance and/or drug abuse
Suicide Rates by Race in the US
Along with age, environment, profession, and one’s overall feelings towards being alive, another element that comes into play is race. Suicide rates across different races vary depending on the particular ethnicities and nationalities at hand.
For example, there are more white people who die by suicide in America than American Indians, Asians, black people, and Pacific Islanders. Taking gender into consideration, more white men than white women resort to dying by suicide, too.
Although the United States is a place comprised of many different races, the country remains a nation where the majority of the population is made up of white people. This may play a part in the findings that white people have higher suicide rates than other races.However, for the sake of this comparison, we will not consider white people to be outliers when looking at rates of suicide among races.
The United States Census Bureau has analyzed the overall population of the nation, and in doing so, the Federal Statistical System agency has broken up the population of America into seven distinct categories.
These seven groups include...
Black and/or African American
Native Americans and/or Alaskan Natives
Native Hawaiians and/or Pacific Islanders
Multiracial individuals with biological breakdowns of two or more races
Middle Eastern Americans
Here are the suicide rates of black people, white people, American Indians, and Asians in the United States between the years 2000 and 2017. While it is interesting to compare the suicide rates of all races in America, looking at these four groups in particular helps to shed light on just how drastic the disparities are between races that share little to no common ancestry. You will find that black people and Asians are less likely to die by suicide than white people and American Indians.
Please note that the group of people identified as American Indians also includes Alaskan Natives. Similarly, the statistics for Asians in the tables below also refer to Pacific Islanders.
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2000
- Black people -- 5.52 people
- White people -- 11.29 people
- American Indians -- 9.87 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.43 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2001
- Black people -- 5.46 people
- White people -- 11.69 people
- American Indians -- 10.69 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.39 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2002
- Black people -- 5.35 people
- White people -- 12 people
- American Indians -- 10.28 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.39 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2003
- Black people -- 5.25 people
- White people -- 11.8 people
- American Indians -- 10.09 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.67 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2004
- Black people -- 5.35 people
- White people -- 12.01 people
- American Indians -- 12.36 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.88 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2005
- Black people -- 5.27 people
- White people -- 11.99 people
- American Indians -- 11.68 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.3 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2006
- Black people -- 5.07 people
- White people -- 12.11 people
- American Indians -- 11.61 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.69 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2007
- Black people -- 4.99 people
- White people -- 12.47 people
- American Indians -- 11.47 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.18 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2008
- Black people -- 5.28 people
- White people -- 12.87 people
- American Indians -- 11.66 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.83 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2009
- Black people -- 5.17 people
- White people -- 13.07 people
- American Indians -- 11.91 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.28 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2010
- Black people -- 5.19 people
- White people -- 13.55 people
- American Indians -- 10.87 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.19 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2011
- Black people -- 5.31 people
- White people -- 13.88 people
- American Indians -- 10.63 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.81 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2012
- Black people -- 5.53 people
- White people -- 14.1 people
- American Indians -- 10.78 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.17 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2013
- Black people -- 5.38 people
- White people -- 14.18 people
- American Indians -- 11.65 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.75 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2014
- Black people -- 5.49 people
- White people -- 14.71 people
- American Indians -- 10.92 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 5.92 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2015
- Black people -- 5.57 people
- White people -- 15.06 people
- American Indians -- 12.64 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.36 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2016
- Black people -- 6.03 people
- White people -- 15.17 people
- American Indians -- 13.37 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.62 people
Number of Deaths by Suicide in America in 2017
- Black people -- 6.61 people
- White people -- 15.85 people
- American Indians -- 13.42 people
- Asians and Pacific Islanders -- 6.59 people
There is an incredibly shocking observation that we see when comparing the suicide statistics of Alaskan Natives and American Indians to the suicide statistics of other Americans. Compared to white Americans, the suicide rates for both Alaskan Natives and American Indians are much higher.
And this observation doesn’t only hold true when comparing Alaskan Natives and American Indians to Asians, black people, and white people. The suicide statistics for Alaskan Natives and American Indians are much higher than the suicide statistics of everyone else in the United States combined. The suicide statistics for only two groups of people in the United States should in no way, shape, or form outnumber the suicidie statistics of the majority of the country.
On that note, Alaskan Natives and American Indians are two of the many minorities in America. So, not only are the suicide statistics of these two groups alone much higher than the rest of the nation, but these two groups of people also happen to be minorities in America.
This detail makes the suicide statistics of Alaskan Natives and American Indians even more concerning because it is a big problem if two of the smallest groups of people have higher suicide rates than much larger groups of people.
For example, for non-native Americans between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, about thirty-two people per 100,000 people in this age group died by suicide between the years 2008 and 2017. Now, let's see how that number matches up against the suicide rate for Americans in this age group who do not identify as Alaskan Native or American Indian.
The rest of the fifteen-year-olds to twenty-four-year-olds in America were in a group with a much smaller suicide rate. For the rest of the US citizens in this age group, only about eleven people per 100,000 people died by suicide. This is about a third of the Alaskan Natives and American Indians who died by suicide between the years 2008 and 2017.
Suicides in America: Then and Now
Looking at suicide attempts only from the perspective of deaths can deter us from actually understanding just how many people attempt to end their lives early. The rates of suicide in America are painful to read about because it is heartbreaking to know that so many people have chosen suicide as a way to end the pain in their lives.
But you could also argue that the statistics of suicide attempts are equally as, if not more, soul-crushing than the statistics of solely those who have died by suicide. For ever person who commits suicide in the United States of America, there are twenty-four other people who tried to carry out their suicides but failed to kill themselves. One out of every twenty-five suicide attempts results in an actual death.
This means that over a quarter million people, or twenty-five thousand people, attempt suicide every year in the United States. And, by breaking the population down into age groups, the elderly have a smaller ratio of suicide attempts to deaths by suicide. For every older individual who dies by suicide, four elderly individuals have tried. So, one in every four old people dies by suicide each year.
In the year 1999, about eleven people for every one hundred thousand people died by suicide in America. Eighteen years later in 2017, that number increased from eleven to fourteen people. These statistics equate to about forty-seven thousand deaths as a result of suicide on American soil in 2017. That happens to be a two-thousand-person increase since the number of deaths by suicide during the previous year, 2016.
But between the years 1999 and 2017, the percentage of Americans who died by suicide experienced a thirty-three percent increase. The statistics are starting to change, particularly in terms of which gender accounts for the most suicides in America. Men have always accounted for more suicide deaths in the United States than women, but that consistent finding is beginning to become far less consistent over the years.
Men and women who identify as Alaskan Natives and American Indians continue to have higher suicide rates than their peers, except for Pacific Islanders and Asians. Between 1999 and 2017, the number of women who died by suicide increased by one hundred thirty-nine percent, whereas the number of men who died by suicide during this time increased by seventy-one percent.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an end in sight when it comes to the high rates of suicide in America. In July of 2019, the news outlet CNN reported that "the suicide rate in the United States continues to climb." On a similar note, in the later part of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of their studies, all of which showed that America's rates of suicide continue to climb.
In fact, the lowest recorded suicide rates to date were all the way back in 1999. Around the time that the CDC unveiled their findings, The Associated Press also revealed their analysis of official records regarding the suicide rates in America. By analyzing the records given to them by the United States government, the Associated Press found out that suicide is the second biggest cause of death in Americans.
Suicide is preventable, but only if treatment is received and the quality of life improves. People die by suicide because the world around them is not one in which they want to live anymore. This is a heartbreaking phenomenon, and suicide is slowly approaching first place in terms of the number one cause of deaths in America.
There is still hope, and we can still work towards a future where suicide is far less common than it is right now. But it takes time, and we can each do our part to help people who are facing suicidal thoughts by being as kind and loving as possible.