Suicide Around The Globe


Death by suicide is a serious problem that causes pain to hundreds of thousands of people every year around the globe. On average, 129 suicides occur per day, around the world. The goal of this post is to get an overview of the global trends in suicide rates among various sub-groups and across time.

Some key observations of the following post are as follows:

  • Suicide rates are generally decreasing globally.
  • On average, suicide rates increase with age, even when controlling for countries and continents.
  • There is a very weak positive correlation between a country's gpd per capita and suicide rate (across all sub-groups).
  • Male suicide rates far outstrip that of females, and are more 3 times higher in some high-income countries.
  • Among my countries of interest, Lithuania sticks out in particular.

Data Source:

Loading output library...

Global Suicide Trend

  • Between 1988 and 1995, suicides rose by ~33%.
  • The peak suicide rate was 15.3 deaths per 100k in 1995, and has been decreasing ever since.
  • The rate only returned to that 1988 level in 2015.
  • There was a slight increase in the final year of data, 2016.
Loading output library...

Continental Analysis

  • Europe has had the highest rate of suicide over time. However, this has decreased steadily and is now in line with that of Asia's & Oceania's.
  • Unfortunately we don't have enough data for Africa, which is the reason for the bizarre trend line below.
  • The rate of suicide in both North and South America has been steadily rising since the early noughties.
Loading output library...
Loading output library...

National Analysis

  • These are figures averaged out over time.
  • In Europe the Eastern and Scandanavian countries have the highest rates of suicide. This is well documented, particularly among Scandanavian countries.
  • Lithuania and Russia have the highest rates.
  • Of the 10 countries with the highest rates averaged out over time, 8 of them are European, including Russia.
  • One note of surprise for me was the high rate in France (or perhaps this is just ignorance on my part).
Loading output library...
  • Russia'a and Lithuania's rates have remained consistently high.
  • Interestingly, Russia's suicide rate has been trending downwards since 2001 and is now below that of Japan's.
  • In Lithuania, the rate has been increasing over recent years.
  • Other points of concern are the trendlines in Sweden and US.
Loading output library...
Loading output library...

Gender Analysis

  • Globally, the rate of suicide among men has been over three times that of women.
  • Suicide rates for both peaked in 1995, and have been declining since.
  • The rate among females has remained fairly consistent.
  • Malta, Qatar, Latvia and Greece have some of the highest male-to-female ratios.
  • Though not visible on the map, Malta's ratio stands at 19.4!
Loading output library...
Loading output library...

Age Analysis

  • The data points below are absolute numbers.
  • The rate of suicide typically increases with age.
  • The rate for each age group has been trending downwards since the late 90s, except for the youngest category, which has remained more constant.
  • The rate for the '75+' age group has dropped the most over the last 30 years.
Loading output library...
Loading output library...
  • There are big differences between the different age groups in different countries.
  • The suicide rate increases with age for Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden and the US.
  • The rates for all age groups in Lithuania and Russia tower above the rest.
Loading output library...

Generational Analysis

  • Again, the data points below are absolute numbers.
  • All generations have followed very similar trends.
  • The Silent generation have consistently exhibited higher rates of suicide across the timeline in question.
Loading output library...

Impact of Relative Incomes on Suicide Rates

  • There only seems to be quite a weak & positive correlation between GDP per capita and the rate of suicide.
  • Further analysis and higher-quality data is required to access different factors that can contribute to higher suicide rates.
Loading output library...