Facts About Suicide

  • Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
  • Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warnings or do not know how to respond to them.
  • Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
  • Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, racial and ethnic boundaries.
  • Suicidal behavior is complex and not a response to one problem that a person is experiencing. Some risk factors vary with age, gender, or ethnic group and may occur in combination or change over time.
  • Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, they may themselves be at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.

National statistics

Statistics are based on the latest year for which we have national statistics, 2013. 
U.S.A Suicide: 2013 Official Final Data

  • Suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. This translates into an annual suicide rate of approximately 13 per 100,00 people dying a year by suicide, out-ranking homicides (ranked as the 16th leading cause of death).
  • The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 to 10.4 suicides per 100,000. Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • In 2013, there were 41,149 completed suicides in the United States. Approximately one person kills themselves every 13 minutes.
  • In 2013, there were 1,028,725 attempted suicide in the United States. Approximately one person attempts suicide every 31 seconds.
  • It is generally estimated that there are 25 attempts for one death by suicide.
  • Between 25 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Those who have made suicide attempts are at higher risk for actually taking their own lives.
  • Each suicide intimately effects at least six other people (estimated). In 2013, it was estimated that one in every 64 Americans became a suicide loss survivor.
  • The most commonly reported means of completing suicide, across all groups, was by firearm (51.5 percent), followed by suffocation or hanging (24.5 percent), poisoning (16.1 percent), cutting (1.9 percent) and drowning (1 percent).
  • Mental health diagnoses are generally associated with a higher rate of suicide. Psychological autopsy studies reflect that more than 90 percent of completed suicides had one or more mental disorders. (NAMI)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)

By age

  • Relative to those younger, rates of completed suicide are highest among adults between the ages of 45 and 64, followed by an equally high rate for the elderly (age 80 and over).
  • It is estimated that elderly adults have rates of suicide close to 50 percent higher than that of the nation as a whole (all ages).
  • Suicide is currently ranked as the second leading cause of death for youth (15 to 24 years old) in the United States behind accidents/road traffic.
  • Prevalence of Suicide in College Students:
    • Available data suggests that suicide occurs at a rate between 6.5 and 7.5 per 100,000 among college students, approximately half the rate for nonstudent college-aged adults. (SPRC)
    • 18 percent of undergraduate and 15 percent of graduate students have seriously considered attempting suicide in their lifetimes. Between 40 and 50 percent of these same students report multiple episodes of serious suicidal thoughts.(Drum,Brownson, Burton Denmark & Smith, 2009)
    • Studies suggest that female graduate students are at a greater risk for suicide than male graduate students and younger students of both sexes. (Big Ten Student Suicide Study)
    • 80 percent of students who die by suicide never contact mental health services. (NAMI)

By gender (from the CDC)

  • Males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9% of all suicides.
  • Females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts.
  • Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (56.9%).
  • Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females (34.8%)

By race/ethnicity


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reported the following statistics for 2001-2010 among White/Caucasian Americans:

  • At 14.95 per 100,000, the suicide rate for Whites of all ages was the second highest rate among racial/ethnic groups and higher than the overall U.S. rate of 12.08.
  • Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Whites of all ages and the 2nd leading cause of death for young White males ages 15-34.
  • The highest rate in the White population, 51.75 per 100,000, was found among adult males 85 and older.
  • The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts of Whites have been placed at 16.10% and 4.69%, respectively.

The CDC reported the following statistics for 2001-2010 among Black/African Americans:

  • The suicide rate for all ages was 5.37 per 100,000, slightly less than half the overall U.S. rate of 12.08.
  • Suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for Blacks of all ages and the 3rd leading cause of death for young Black males ages 15-24.
  • Males ages 25 to 34 had the highest rate of suicide in the Black population, 16.43 per 100,000.
  • The lifetime prevalence rate of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts of Blacks has been placed at 11.82% and 4.15%, respectively.

The CDC reported the following statistics for 2001-2010 among Hispanic/Latino Americans:

  • The suicide rate for all ages was 5.85 per 100,000, slightly less than half the overall U.S. rate of 12.08.
  • Suicide ranked as the 12th leading cause of death for individuals of Hispanic origin of all races and ages, and the 3rd leading cause of death for Hispanic males ages 15 to 34.
  • The highest suicide rate in the Hispanic population, 30.58 per 100,000, was found among adult males 85 and older.
  • The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts of Hispanics has been placed at 11.35% and 5.11%, respectively.

The CDC reported the following statistics for 2001-2010 among American Indians and Alaska Natives:

  • The suicide rate for all ages was 16.93 per 100,000, much higher than the overall U.S. rate of 12.08 and the highest of all racial/ethnic groups.
  • Suicide ranked as the 8th leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives of all ages. Suicide ranked as the 2nd leading cause of death among youth ages of 10 to 24.
  • Adult males ages 15-24 had the highest rate of suicide in the American Indian and Alaska Native population at 51.93 per 100,000.
  • Lifetime rates of having attempted suicide reported by adolescents ranged from 21.8% in girls to 11.8% in boys and from 17.6% of both sexes raised on reservations to 14.3% of both sexes raised in urban areas.
  • Lifetime rates of suicidal ideation were significantly higher among youth raised on reservations (32.6%) compared to youth raised in urban areas (21%).

The CDC reported the following statistics from 2001-2010 among the Asian American and Pacific Islander population:

  • The suicide rate was 6.19 per 100,000, approximately half the overall U.S. rate of 12.08.
  • Suicide ranked as the 10th leading cause of death for all ages  and the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24.
  • The highest rate in the Asian American and Pacific Islander population, 29.76  per 100,000, was found among adult males 85 and older.
  • The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been placed at 9.02% and 2.55%, respectively.

Michigan statistics

Suicide facts for Michigan

Statistics for means of completed suicide in Michigan