Suicide mortality in the U.S. decreased from 2018 to 2020 after increasing since 2000
Leo Sher, M.D.
The report, “Suicide mortality in the United States, 2000–2020” has recently been published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics (1). According to this report, suicide mortality in the U.S. increased from 2000 to 2018, then decreased from 2018 to 2020. Suicide deaths were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD–10) underlying cause-of-death codes U03, X60–X84, and Y87.0.
In 2020, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death for all ages in the U.S., changing from the 10th leading cause in 2019 as a result of the emergence of COVID-19 deaths and rises in deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
The overall suicide rate increased 30% between 2000 and 2020. The total age-adjusted suicide rate increased from 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000 to a peak of 14.2 in 2018, followed by a 5% decline between 2018 and 2020 to 13.5.
The suicide rate for males was stable from 2000 (17.7) through 2006 (18.1), and then increased from 2006 through 2018 (22.8). Rates in 2019 (22.4) and 2020 (22.0) were lower than the rate in 2018. For males, suicide rates in the 45–64 and 65–74 age groups declined recently, while rates among the 10–14, 15–24, and 75 and over age groups generally increased.
The suicide rate for females increased from 2000 (4.0) through 2015 (6.0) and was stable from 2015 through 2018 (6.2). The rate then declined to 6.0 in 2019 and 5.5 in 2020. For females, rates for age groups 10–14 and 15–24 generally increased, while rates declined recently for the 25–44, 45–64, 65–74, and 75 and over age groups.
Suicide rates were 3 to 4 times higher for males compared with females across the 2000–2020 period.
- Garnett MF, Curtin SC, Stone DM. Suicide mortality in the United States, 2000–2020. NCHS Data Brief, no 433. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:114217