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Suicide Facts, Suicide Statistics

Breakdown of suicide statistics - completed suicides, number of suicide deaths, suicide rate among children and attempted suicides.

Completed Suicides in the U.S. - 1999

  • Suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • It was the 8th leading cause of death for males, and 19th leading cause of death for females.
  • The total number of suicide deaths was 29,199
  • The 1999 age-adjusted rate** was 10.7/100,000, or 0.01%.
    • 1.3% of total deaths were from suicide. By contrast, 30.3% were from diseases of the heart, 23% were from malignant neoplasms (cancer), and 7% from cerebrovascular disease (stroke), the three leading causes.
    • Suicide outnumbered homicides (16,899) by 5 to 3.
    • There were twice as many deaths due to suicide than deaths due to HIV/AIDS (14,802).
    • There were almost exactly the same number of suicides by firearm (16,889) as homicides (16,599).
  • Suicide by firearms was the most common method for both men and women, accounting for 57% of all suicides.
  • More men than women die by suicide.
    • The gender ratio is 4:1.
    • 72% of all suicides are committed by white men.
    • 79% of all firearm suicides are committed by white men.
  • Among the highest rates (when categorized by gender and race) are suicide deaths for white men over 85, who had a rate of 59/100,000.
  • Suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24 years of age, following unintentional injuries and homicide. The rate was 10.3/100,000, or .01%.
    • The suicide rate among children ages 10-14 was 1.2/100,000, or 192 deaths among 19,608,000 children in this age group.

      The 1999 gender ratio for this age group was 4:1 (males: females).

    • The suicide rate among adolescents aged 15-19 was 8.2/100,000, or 1,615 deaths among 19,594,000 adolescents in this age group.

      The 1999 gender ratio for this age group was 5:1 (males: females).

      Among young people 20 to 24 years of age the suicide rate was 12.7/100,000, or 2,285 deaths among 17,594,000 people in this age group.

      * The 1999 gender ratio for this age group was 6:1 (males: females).

Attempted Suicides in the U.S. - 1999

No annual national data on attempted suicide are available; reliable scientific research, however, has found that:

  • There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides to one completion; the ratio is higher in women and youth and lower in men and the elderly
  • More women than men report a history of attempted suicide, with a gender ratio of 3:1
  • The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in adults are depression, alcohol abuse, cocaine use, and separation or divorce
  • The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, alcohol or other drug use disorder, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors

Source: National Instititute of Mental Health

The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Or for a crisis center in your area, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

next: Suicide FAQ
~ depression library articles
~ all articles on depression

Last Updated: 24 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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