Statistics and Causes of Suicide in the US

Table of Content

Men and Suicide


Suicide is described as a deliberate act to take one’s life or cause self-harm.

(Kreitman, 1977, as cited in Husain, Waheed & Husain, 2006) Suicide risk factors vary with age, gender, ethnic and socioeconomic status. Most suicide cases are brought about by depression or dangerous mental disorders or substance abuse arising from adverse life events and various social problems. (Grohol, 2005; Glencoe, 1992)

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Reasons for committing suicide may include one or combinations of the following:

  1. A suicide victim commits suicide as a means to escape physical or emotional pain such as in having a terminal illness or loneliness of old age;
  2. to end distress brought about by unacceptable feelings, such of homosexuality;
  3. to punish oneself for the his/her failures or mistakes; or
  4. to punish a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, the family or society for not perceiving their emotional needs. (Glencoe, 1992)

 General Facts and Figures on Suicide

In 2001, 30,622 lives were taken in relation to suicide. (NCIPC, 2006) The national average of suicide rates is generally higher among Western states and lower among Eastern and Midwestern states. (NCIPC, 2006) Men are twice as likely to commit suicide as women but four times more likely to suffer violent deaths.

In 1979 and 2002, the female to male gender ratio for suicides was 2:3 and 1:3, respectively. (Society Guardian, 2004; Gellene, 2007) Suicidal rates observed among teenagers have declined slowly since 1992; however, remain unacceptably high. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-old teenagers of which 86% of incidences involved males.

(NCIPC, 2006) Depression among the elderly has lead to higher suicide rates with elderly men accounting for 85% of cases. (NCIPC, 2006)

Focus on Suicide among Men from Various Groups of Society

African-American Men

  1. According to Crawford, et al., suicidal rates have increased to 105% among African-American men between 1980 and 1995. (Crawford, 2002)
  2. Factors accounting for elevated risk include race-based stress or minority status which creates feelings of oppression and negative life events in a racist society. (Center for Suicide Prevention, 2003; Crawford, 2002)
  3. Protective factors include social institutions among this group as compared to whites that help act as a buffer system against social forces. (Yin, 2006)

White men

  1. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the US (11 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans). Elderly men, around ages 65 commit suicide in triple overall rate. (Yin, 2006)
  2. According to NCIPC, suicide rates are highest among White men while second highest among American Indian and Native Alaskan men. (NCIPC, 2006)
  3. Reports revealed that 79% of all suicides committed using a gun is committed by White men. (Grohol, 2005)c.

Asian men

  1. Sixty one percent of the world’s suicide cases occur in Asia. Suicide occurs in 12.6 per 100,000 individuals in the population. (Vijayakumar, 2005)
  2. Japan has the highest suicide rate in East Asia and one of the highest in the world. Most suicide victims are middle-aged Japanese men. (Beech, 2003)
  3. Reports indicate suicide rates between 1996 and 1998 among Asian/Pacific Islander had been 9.1 per 100,000 population among males while only 3.3 per 100,000 for females. (Beech, 2003)
  4. Most suicide victims (68-97%) had diagnosable psychiatric disorders; however, association between depression and suicide is less pronounced in Asia compared to Western countries.  (Vijayakumar, 2005)

Homosexual men

  1. Studies showed that rate of suicidal attempts in homosexual men are about six times higher than heterosexual men. (Bower, 1999)
  2. The highest rate of depression and substance abuse are observed among homosexuals. (Center for Suicide Prevention, 2003; Crawford, 2002)
  3. Perceived discrimination and struggle with their sexual identity were the associated risk factors among men of the heterosexual group. (Center for Suicide Prevention, 2003; Crawford, 2002)
  4. A study further reports presence of higher incidence of suicides among AAGBM or African-American gay and bisexual men since these individuals experience a dual minority status which increases risk for suicidal tendencies. (Crawford, 2002)

Obese men

  1. A study shows that the likelihood of committing suicide is lower, 42% less likely, among obese compared to men with normal weight. (Gellene, 2007)
  2. Bursts of hormones insulin, leptin, serotonin and sex hormones affects mood and alleviate depression in obese men. (Gellene, 2007)
  3. The scenario of suicide tendency is different among obese women where anxiety and other factors affect mood greater than hormonal changes. (Gellene, 2007)
  4. Excessive food consumption also appears to serve as a coping mechanism to depression which helps decrease risk for suicidal tendencies. (Gellene, 2007)


  1. Beech, H. (2003, November 3). Hidden Away. [Electronic version] Time Asia.
  2. Bower, B. (1999, October 23). Social factors may make gay men suicidal. Science News, 156(17), 261.
  3. Centre for Suicide Prevention. (2003, December). Suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered youth. Retrieved March 30, 2007, from alert53.pdf.
  4. Crawford, I., Allison, K., Zamboni, B., Soto, T. (2002) The influence of dual-identity on the psychosocial functioning of African-American gay and bisexual men [Electronic version].
  5. The Journal of Sex Research, 39. Gellene, D. (2007, March 13). Obese men less likely to commit suicide. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from,1,7058490.story?track= rss&ctrack=2&cset=true.
  6. Glencoe. (1992). Understanding Psychology. USA: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.
  7. Grohol, J. (2005, April 04). An Introduction to Suicide. Retrieved March 28, 2007, from
  8. Hatloy, I. (2004). Statistics 2: Suicide. Mind for better mental health. Retrieved March 26, 2007, from uk/Information/Factsheets/Statistics/Statistics+2.htm.
  9. Husain, MI., Waheed, W., & Husain, N. (2006). Self-harm in British South Asian women: psychosocial correlates and strategies for prevention [Electronic version].
  10. Annals of General Psychiatry, 5(7). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). (2006, September 07). Suicide: Fact Sheet. Retrieved March 26, 2007, from
  11. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. (n.d.) At a glance – Suicide among diverse Populations. Retrieved March 30, 2007, from diverse.asp.
  12. Society Guardian UK. (2004, June 29). Men ‘more likely to commit suicide’. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from,,1250069,00.html.
  13. Vijayakumar, L. (2005). Suicide and mental disorders in Asia. Journal International Review of Psychiatry, 17(2).
  14. Yin, S. (2006, August). Elderly white men afflicted by high suicide rates. Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2007, from PRB&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13987.

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