While this data is the most accurate we have, we estimate the numbers to be higher. Stigma surrounding suicide leads to underreporting, and data collection methods critical to suicide prevention need to be improved. Learn how you can become an advocate.
leading cause of death in the US
Americans died by suicide
Additional Facts About Suicide in the US
- The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2017 was 14.0 per 100,000 individuals.
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular.
- In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women.
- On average, there are 129 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 77.97% of suicide deaths in 2017.
- In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.
Suicide Rates by Age
In 2017, the highest suicide rate (20.2) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age. The second highest rate (20.1) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2017, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 14.46.
Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity
In 2017, the highest U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was among Whites (15.85) and the second highest rate was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (13.42). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Black or African Americans (6.61) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.59).
Note that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all groups may also be Hispanic.
In 2017, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.57%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 27.72% and poisoning at 13.89%.
When it comes to suicide and suicide attempts there are rate differences depending on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and race. Nonetheless, suicide occurs in all demographic groups.
In the U.S., no complete count of suicide attempt data are available. The CDC gathers data from hospitals on non-fatal injuries from self-harm as well as survey data.
In 2015, (the most recent year for which data are available), approximately 575,000 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm.
Based on the 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Mental Health it is estimated that 0.6 percent of the adults aged 18 or older made at least one suicide attempt. This translates to approximately 1.4 million adults. Adult females reported a suicide attempt 1.4 times as often as males. Further breakdown by gender and race are not available.
Based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 7.4 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months. Female students attempted almost twice as often as male students (9.3% vs. 5.1%). Black students reported the highest rate of attempt (9.8%) with white students at 6.1 percent. Approximately 2.4 percent of all students reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse. For those requiring treatment, rates were highest for Black students (3.4%).
AFSP's latest data on suicide are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2017. Suicide rates listed are Age-Adjusted Rates.