Age-adjusted suicide rates decreased from 2018 to 2019 in US

From 1999 through 2018, there was an increase in age-adjusted suicide rates, followed by a significant decrease from 2018 to 2019, according to a February data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Holly Hedegaard, M.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues used final mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System to update trends in suicide rates from 1999 through 2019.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted suicide rate in 2019 was significantly lower than the rate in 2018 (13.9 versus 14.2 per 100,000), after increasing from 1999 through 2018. Rates in 2019 were similar to those in 2018 in all age groups for females, except for those aged 25 to 44 years, for whom a significantly lower rate was seen in 2019 versus 2018. For males, the rates in 2019 were significantly lower than those in 2018 for those aged 10 to 14, 45 to 64, and 65 to 74 years. The 2019 rates for female suicide by suffocation and firearm were higher than poisoning (1.8, 1.8, and 1.7, respectively), similar to 2018. For male suicide, the highest rates were for firearm from 1999 through 2019, while the greatest percentage increase was seen in rates for suicide by suffocation, up from 3.3 to 6.6.

“Suicide rates were consistently higher for males compared with females throughout the study period,” the authors write. “For both males and females, the age-adjusted suicide rates in 2019 were significantly lower than the rates in 2018.”