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 2018 was 14.2 per 100,000 individuals.
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular.
- In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women.
- On average, there are 132 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.
- In 2018, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.
Suicide Rates by Age Range
In 2018, the suicide rates were higher among adults ages 45 to 54 years (20.04 per 100,000) and 55-64 years (20.20 per 100,000), with the rate highest among adults ages 52-59 years (21.56 per 100,000). Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2018, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 14.45.
Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity
In 2018, the highest U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was among Whites (16.84) and the second highest rate was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (14.12). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Black or African Americans (7.03) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (7.16).
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. Overall, across groups, the rate of suicide for non-Hispanics was 16.42 and the rate for Hispanics was 7.20.
In 2018, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.54%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 28.63% and poisoning (including drug overdose) at 12.90%.
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 2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Mental Health it is estimated that 0.5 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 1.5 times as often as males. Further breakdown by gender and race are not available.
Based on the most recent Youth Risk Behaviors Survey from 2017, 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 2018, as of March 1, 2020. Suicide rates listed are Age-Adjusted Rates.