Suicide is a major public health concern. Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States. Based on recent mortality data, suicide in some populations is on the rise.
Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.
A suicide attempt is a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.
Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.
Suicide is a Leading Cause of Death in the United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2020:
Suicide was the twelfth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 45,900 people.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10-14 and 25-34 , the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15-24, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
There were nearly two times as many suicides (45,979) in the United States as there were homicides (24,576).
In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death (47,511 suicide deaths). In 2020, liver disease and COVID-19 surpassed suicide as leading causes of death, but suicide deaths decreased compared to 2019 totals (45,979 suicide deaths). Suicide is not among the twelve leading causes of death among children in the 0-4 year age group nor in adults in the age group 65 years and older.
Trends over Time
Suicide rates are based on the number of people who have died by suicide per 100,000 population. When comparing rates from one year to another year, ‘age-adjusted’ rates allow for differences in population age distributions and changes in population size over time to be taken into account.
Figure 1 shows age-adjusted suicide rates in the United States for each year from 2000 through 2020 for the total population, and for males and females separately.
The total age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 35.2% from 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000 to 14.2 per 100,000 in 2018, before declining to 13.9 per 100,000 in 2019 and declining again to 13.5 per 100,000 in 2020.
In 2020, the suicide rate among males was 4 times higher (22.0 per 100,000) than among females (5.5 per 100,000).
METHOD OD SUICIDE
The percentages of suicide deaths by method among females and males in 2020. Among females, the most common methods of suicide were firearm (33.0%), suffocation (29.1%), and poisoning (28.6%). Among males, the most common methods of suicide were firearm (57.9%) followed by suffocation (26.7%).
Around 4.9% of adults aged 18 and older in the United States had serious thoughts about suicide in 2020.
Among adults across all age groups, the prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among young adults aged 18-25 (11.3%).
The prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among adults aged 18 and older who report having multiple (two or more) races (11.0%).