It’s Not Just the US Where Suicide Rates Are on the Rise

Every newspaper in America seems to be highlighting the current issue of Vital Signs, in which the CDC announced that suicide rates have gone up by more than 30 percent in half of all states since 1999:

The biggest increases are in small-population states in the upper plains, so the overall suicide rate is closer to 25 percent than 30+. However, that’s still a big increase, and most advanced countries have seen flat or declining suicide rates during this period. However, that’s not true of all countries. There are a number of peer countries that have also shown increases:

The big dot in each line indicates the year that suicide rates started to turn up. Generally, speaking, the US rate started rising earlier and more steeply than most countries. However, suicide rates in Mexico and South Korea had already been rising for years by the time the upward trend began in the US. Italy (not shown) followed suit in 2006, the Netherlands in 2007, Australia in 2008, and Great Britain in 2012. France, conversely, started high but has been dropping for decades. Germany, Scandinavia, and Canada (not shown) have all been down or flat too.

South Korea and Mexico may have measurement issues, and the other countries on the rise have shown only small increases. The United States really is an outlier here. Still, it’s not a total outlier, and there are definitely some upward trends in suicide elsewhere in the world. More research, please.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend