The number of suicides in the United States has fallen for the second year in a row, new preliminary data from the federal government show.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns that fear of job loss and the death of loved ones or feelings of isolation would lead to an increase in the number of people who take their own lives.
Instead, suicides fell three percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC )’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released on Wednesday.
Not every group saw a decline, however, with young men reporting increases in suicide rates, particularly Black, Hispanic, and Native American boys and men.
A new CDC report released on Wednesday compared preliminary 2020 US suicide data with final 2019 data (file image)
The number of suicides in 2020 was 45,855, a 3% decrease from the 47,511 in 2019
For the report, the team examined the preliminary death data received by the NCHS as of May 19, 2021 and compared them to the final 2019 data.
Between 1998 and 2018, suicide rates in the US had risen steadily before falling by two percent in 2019.
The trend seems to have continued in 2020.
Researchers found that the preliminary number of suicides in 2020 was 45,855, a 3 percent decrease from the 47,511 suicides recorded in 2019.
Adjusted for age, the rate also fell from 13.9 per 100,000 to 13.5 per 100,000.
Aside from January, February, and November, there were also fewer suicides each month in 2020 than in 2019.
Overall, men and women saw a decrease in suicides.
There were 36,508 suicides among American boys and men in 2020, a 2 percent decrease from 37,256 in 2019.
Similarly, the number of suicides among women fell nine percent to 9,347 last year from 10,255 the year before.
However, not all groups saw a decrease in the suicide rate.
Among the age groups, only those over 35 years of age recorded decreases, with the greatest decrease among 45 to 54 year olds from 19.6 per 100,000 to 17.9 per 100,000 and among 55 to 64 year olds from 19.4 per 100,000 on. the rate was 16.8 per 100,000.
Rates increased in all age groups up to 34 years old, but the only significant increase was in those 25-34 year olds, increasing by five percent from 17.5 per 100,000 to 18.3.
Suicides decreased in both men and women. For men it was 36,508 in 2020, a decrease of 2% compared to 37,256 in 2019. For women it decreased by 9% compared to 9,347 in the previous year compared to 10,255 in the previous year.
Black, Hispanic, and Native American men all saw rates rise from 2019 to 2020
In addition, there have been some racial and ethnic groups that have seen increases in suicide rates.
The suicide rates of women fell for every race and ethnicity, but the same couldn’t be said for men.
The rate of black men rose from 12.5 per 100,000 in 2019 to 12.9 in 2020.
Hispanic men also saw a five percent increase, from 11.6 per 100,000 to 12.2, and Native American men increased their rate from 33 per 100,000 to 35.8.
“If you look at the different groups, you can see that there are some differences, how the total number and rate depends on what happens to the majority group – non-Hispanic whites, both men and women,” leads lead author Sally Curtin . from the Division of Vital Statistics of the NCHS told CNN.
“I think it’s pretty common now that Covid has affected different demographics differently, and some have been hit harder than others.”
- For confidential assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.
- For confidential UK suicide assistance, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritan office or click here.
- For confidential assistance in Australia please call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or click here.