Fact or Fiction: Suicide rates among young people in the Northeastern United States have not increased much over the last decadeSeptember 11, 2020
QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Suicide Rates by State — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2018May 1, 2020
In 2018, the U.S. suicide rate was 14.2 per 100,000 standard population, with rates varying by state.
The five states with the highest age-adjusted suicide rates were Wyoming (25.2), New Mexico (25.0), Montana (24.9), Alaska (24.6), and Idaho (23.9).
The five jurisdictions with the lowest suicide rates were the District of Columbia (7.5), New Jersey (8.3), New York (8.3), Rhode Island (9.5), and Massachusetts (9.9).
Source: National Vital Statistics System. Underlying cause of death data, 1999–2018. https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html.
Questions for Holly Hedegaard, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Increase in Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2018.”
Q: Are there any major changes in the suicide rates rate from 2017 to 2018?
HH: The suicide rate in 2018 (14.2 per 100,000) is slightly higher than the rate in 2017 (14.0).
Q: Can you summarize how the rates data varied by sex, age groups and urbanicity?
HH: The report looks at suicide rates from 1999 through 2018. Suicide rates in 2018 were higher than in 1999 for males and females in all age groups under age 75. Among females, suicide rates from 1999 through 2018 were highest for those aged 45–64 and lowest for those aged 10–14. Among males, suicide rates were highest for those aged 75 and over and lowest for those aged 10–14. After years of increase, the suicide rates for several demographic groups have stabilized in recent years. These include females aged 45 and over, and males aged 45–64. Females aged 10–44, males aged 10–44, and males 65 and over continue to experience increasing trends in suicide rates. In 2018, the suicide rate for females in the most rural counties was 1.6 times the rate for females in the most urban counties. A similar pattern was seen for males where the suicide rate in the most rural counties was 1.7 times the rate for males in the most urban counties.
Q: Are you able to break down the data by race?
HH: The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has data on suicide rates by race and ethnicity, however those results are not presented in this report. Data can be accessed via an on-line query system CDC WONDER at: https://wonder.cdc.gov/
Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?
HH: It was promising to see that after years of increase, the suicide rates for several demographic groups, including females aged 45 and over and males aged 45–64, have stabilized in recent years.
Q: Do you have any predictions for the 2019 suicide data?
HH: The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) prepares quarterly provisional estimates for many of the leading causes of death. See https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/mortality-dashboard.htm. The quarterly provisional estimates suggest that the age-adjusted suicide death rate for the 12-month period ending in June 2019 was 14.2, which is the same as the age-adjusted death rate of 14.2 for the 12-month period ending in June 2018. This would suggest that by midyear of 2019, the suicide rate was similar to the rate in midyear 2018 (no increase or decrease).
QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Suicide Rates by Sex and Three Most Common Methods — United States, 2000–2018March 6, 2020
The three most common methods of suicide among males and females during 2000–2018 were by firearm, suffocation, and poisoning.
After remaining steady from 2000 to 2006, age-adjusted firearm suicide rates increased during 2006–2018 among males (from 10.3 to 12.6 per 100,000) and females (from 1.4 to 1.9).
Suffocation suicide rates among males and females increased steadily during 2000–2018 (from 3.4 to 6.7 for males and from 0.7 to 1.9 for females).
In contrast to the other suicide methods, poisoning suicide rates during 2000–2018 initially increased and then declined, from 2.3 in 2010 to 1.9 in 2018 among males and from 2.0 in 2015 to 1.7 in 2018 among females.
Throughout the period 2000–2018, suicide rates by all methods were higher among males than among females, with the greatest difference in the rates for suicide by firearm.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, mortality data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/deaths.htm.
Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017.”
Q: Why did you decide to focus on ages 10 through 24 for suicides and homicides?
SC: Suicide and homicide are among the leading causes of death for this age range. As there are almost no suicides below the age of 10, we began with age 10 and decided to go through the young adults age range, through age 24.
Q: How did the data vary by age groups?
SC: For the 10-24 age range, rates of both suicide and homicide are lowest for 10-14, intermediate for 15-19 and highest for 20-24. The patterns differed between age groups. For children and adolescents aged 10-14, suicide rates nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017 whereas homicide rates gradually declined over the period. For 15-19 and 20-24, both suicide and homicide rates increased, with the increase beginning earlier for the suicide rates.
Q: Is this the first time you have published a report on this topic?
SC: We have published some similar reports recently, but this is the first one which focuses on these two causes of death for this age range. Suicide and homicide are often referred to as the two major components of violent death.
Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?
SC: That both suicide and homicide have increased recently for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds. Homicide has only been increasing since 2014, but this is after years of decline whereas suicide began to increase sooner.
Q: Why do you think suicide and homicide death rates have risen?
SC: That is for others in the prevention and research community to answer. However, other studies have shown that some of the risk factors for suicide and homicide have increased. In particular, depression and other mental health disorders have been shown to be increasing in youth.
QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Rates of Suicide, by State — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2017September 13, 2019
In 2017, the U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.0 per 100,000 population, but rates varied by state.
The five states with the highest rates were Montana (28.9 deaths per 100,000 population), Alaska (27.0), Wyoming (26.9), New Mexico (23.3), and Idaho (23.2).
The five with the lowest rates were the District of Columbia (6.6), New York (8.1), New Jersey (8.3), Massachusetts (9.5), and Maryland (9.8).
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System. Mortality Data, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/deaths.htm.
NCHS released a report that presents the final 2017 data on U.S. deaths, death rates, life expectancy, infant mortality, and trends, by selected characteristics such as age, sex, Hispanic origin and race, state of residence, and cause of death.
- In 2017, a total of 2,813,503 deaths were reported in the United States.
- The age-adjusted death rate was 731.9 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population, an increase of 0.4% from the 2016 rate.
- Life expectancy at birth was 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from the 2016 rate.
- Life expectancy decreased from 2016 to 2017 for non-Hispanic white males (0.1 year) and non-Hispanic black males (0.1), and increased for non-Hispanic black females (0.1).
- Age-specific death rates increased in 2017 from 2016 for age groups 25–34, 35–44, and 85 and over, and decreased for age groups under 1 and 45–54.
- The 15 leading causes of death in 2017 remained the same as in 2016 although, two causes exchanged ranks.
- Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, the 12th leading cause of death in 2016, became the 11th leading cause of death in 2017, while Septicemia, the 11th leading cause of death in 2016, became the 12th leading cause of death in 2017.
- The infant mortality rate, 5.79 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, did not change significantly from the rate of 5.87 in 2016.
Questions and Answers from the authors of the recently released 2017 mortality data. The data can be found in the following reports, “Mortality in the United States, 2017, ” “Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2017, ” and “Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017.”
Q: Why did life expectancy decline in 2017?
A: Mortality rates increased for 7 out of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., including a 5.9% increase in the flu/pneumonia death rate, a 4.2% increase in the accidental/unintentional injury death rate, and 3.7% in the suicide rate. Many of the accidental/unintentional deaths were from drug overdoses, which continued to increase in 2017.
Q: Isn’t this the third straight year that life expectancy declined?
A: Estimated life expectancy at birth in 2017 was 0.3 years lower than in 2014 and 0.1 years lower than in 2016. The 2016 life expectancy estimate was revised to 78.7 years, up from an estimated 78.6 years, which was reported a year ago. This means that the 2016 life expectancy estimate is the same as the 2015 estimate, which also was revised to 78.7 years, down from an estimated 78.8 years, originally reported two years ago. As a routine matter, for the highest degree of accuracy, NCHS blends Medicare data for people ages 66 and over with our vital statistics data to estimate life expectancy. However, the two data sets are released on different schedules. When Medicare data for a year aren’t available at the time we release our final mortality statistics, we use the most recent Medicare data available at the time. We later revise life expectancy estimates when updated Medicare data become available.
Q: How many deaths in 2017 were attributed to opioids?
A: In 2017, 47,600 drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of any type of opioid, including heroin and illicit opioids, representing over two-thirds of all overdose deaths (68%).
Q: Why is the 70,237 number of overdose deaths smaller than what CDC has previously reported for 2017?
A: The 70,237 number is a final, official number of overdose deaths among U.S. residents for 2017 whereas the previously reported (and slightly higher) numbers were provisional estimates. In August of 2017, CDC began calculating monthly provisional data on counts of drug overdose deaths as a rapid response to this public health crisis, in order to provide a more accurate, closer to “real-time” look at what is happening both nationally and at the state level. These monthly totals are provisional counts, and they include all deaths occurring in the U.S. – which include deaths among non-residents (i.e., visitors here on business or leisure, students from abroad, etc). These counts also do not include deaths that are still under investigation. As a result, the monthly numbers are provisional or very preliminary, and the final 2017 number of 70,237 deaths is an official number that only include deaths among U.S. residents and account for any previously unresolved deaths that were under investigation.
Q: Does this mean that the 70,237 total does not include deaths to undocumented immigrants here in the U.S.?
A: We don’t get immigration status off the death certificates, so we wouldn’t know how many of the deaths were to undocumented immigrants.
Q: In comparing the 2017 numbers with 2016 and past years, is the crisis of drug overdose deaths growing or about the same?
A: From 2016 to 2017, the number of drug overdose deaths increased from 63,632 deaths to 70,237, a 10% increase, which is a smaller increase compared to the 21% increase from 2015 to 2016, when the number of drug overdose deaths increased from 52,404 deaths to 63,632 deaths. Over a longer period of time, from 1999 through 2017, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased on average by 10% per year from 1999 to 2006, by 3% per year from 2006 to 2014, and by 16% per year from 2014 to 2017. So the trend is continuing, although the increase in 2017 was not as large as in previous years.
Q: Are there any other trends of significance when looking at the types of drugs attributed to overdose deaths?
A: The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which include drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol, increased 45% in one year, from 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016 to 9.0 per 100,000 in 2017. In 2017, 40%(?) of all drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of a synthetic opioid other than methadone.
Q: Has fentanyl overtaken heroin as the major cause of overdose death?
A: The data brief on drug overdose deaths does not specifically address fentanyl. However the rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased 45% 2016 and 2017 whereas the overdose death rate from heroin did not change (4.9 deaths per 100,000).
Q: There is a lot of stark news in these three reports. Are there any positives to report?
A: The cancer mortality rate declined between 2016 and 2017, and although estimated life expectancy declined in 2017, life expectancy for people at age 65 actually increased. Also, regarding drug overdose deaths, the rate of increase in drug overdose deaths slowed between 2016 and 2017, although the increases that occurred were still very significant.
QuickStats: Homicide and Suicide† Death Rates for Persons Aged 15–19 Years — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1999–201June 8, 2018
In 1999, the homicide death rate for persons aged 15–19 years (10.4 per 100,000) was higher than the suicide rate (8.0). By 2010–2011, the homicide and suicide rates had converged.
After 2011, the suicide rate increased to 10.0 in 2016; the homicide rate declined through 2013 but then increased to 8.6 in 2016.
Source: National Vital Statistics System. 1999–2016. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/deaths.htm
From 2015 to 2016, the age-adjusted suicide rate for the total U.S. population increased from 13.3 per 100,000 standard population to 13.5 (an increase of 1.5%).
The rate increased from 5.8 to 6.3 (8.6%) for non-Hispanic blacks and from 6.2 to 6.7 (8.1%) for Hispanics; it remained unchanged for non-Hispanic whites.
In both 2015 and 2016, the non-Hispanic white rate was nearly three times the non-Hispanic black rate and 2.5 times the rate for the Hispanic population.
Source: National Vital Statistics System. Underlying cause of death data, 1999–2016.