Saturday, May 05, 2012

More suicide among people in 40s and 50s

The graph below shows 1999-2009 suicide rates by age group (CDC data):

Rates (not shown) are stable for children, adolescents, and younger adults, but suicides have been increasing for middle-aged people. By contrast, they have been dropping among those 75 and over.

How do we explain these trends?  Have advancements in medical care improved the quality of life for the elderly? Are people in their 40s and 50s increasingly feeling like failures at work?  More relationship, marriage and family disintegration?


  1. Anonymous2:56 PM


    Women who have had an abortion are like 4-6 times more likely to commit suicide. China also has high rates of female suicides.

  2. People who lose their jobs in that age group are probably particularly psychologically impacted. Perhaps the ongoing recession is driving it?

  3. Not enough H-1b visas.

  4. Jehu, I was thinking much the same thing.

    While this is a complete guess, I'd imagine that people in that age groups were hardest hit by the recessions. If you're 50 and were making $80,000/yr in a field that has moved into obsolescence, it is highly unlikely that you're going to ever see those types of earnings again. Young people can always file that as bump in the road and do something else, and eventually recover, and older people can always retire or have already retired.

    Also, what's the sex breakdown? The effects of divorce might be pretty tough at this stage, I'd guess particularly for women who lose their breadwinner husbands.

  5. Anonymous9:15 AM

    The graphic's too small. Also, not sure bar graphs are the best choice here, but maybe that's out of your control.

  6. Right, I can't change it.

  7. Anonymous4:55 PM

    I have depression that is treated. I thrived in China. I am American. In China people care about the group. That is something that some Americans make fun of soemtimes as for abortions (never a ggod thing), Americans shoudl not feel smug against Chinese people. In Chian the suicide rate is highest among men, as it is in the USA. I know it is tough being a female but people are more likely to fogive females for setbacksin career. Men get little respect for looks, while women do. (It is just bioology. Looks are important for a man to liek a woman. Money is important for a man to have in order to get women. It will always be this way. Females are judged less than how much money they have. Men have to have money. As of now females own more than half the wealth in the USA. That does not matter. Women still pick and chose men based mostly on getting more money. If a man acted like Kim Kardasy whatever, the man would be considered criminal. Kim is a hero to many women.

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