Suicide rates in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2022, continuing a surge that began in 2021, according to new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The increase to 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2022, up from 14.1 in 2021, represented a 1% higher rate in suicides across the country. Though the rise is significantly smaller than the 4% jump in the rate from 2020 to 2021, the numbers indicate a still-growing problem with no clear explanation. Provisional data is also incomplete, which means that the final number of suicides in 2022 will likely be higher as additional death certificates are processed. The current total included in the data is 49,449, meaning it’s possible the number of U.S. suicides will cross 50,000 in a single year for the first time on record. It's more than twice the number of homicides in 2022, but likely still low enough to keep suicide from inclusion as a top 10 cause of death for U.S. adults.
As in years prior, men were more likely to die by suicide than women, but the gender-specific rates also revealed the suicide rate among women increased 4% from 2021, while the rate among men only went up 1%. And although suicide rates increased for nearly all demographic groups, the rate among white women in particular increased by 3%, the largest of any group.
There are some positive trends within the data, not least that the rate of increase seems to be at least slowing. After a well-documented increase in suicide rates among teenagers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates for teens fell notably in 2022. For people aged 10 through 14, the suicide rate fell 18%, while teens and young adults ages 15 through 24 saw a 9% lower rate.
The data also highlight a concerning wave of suicide among older adults. Of all age groups, the highest rate of suicide was documented in adults 75 and over, with 21.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Similarly, the highest rate of increase of any age group was seen in those aged 55 through 64, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000, up from 17 in 2021. It’s notable that loneliness, which the CDC lists as a key public-health concern for older adults, seems to be increasing worldwide, with research approximating that at least 50% of modern adults over 60 are at risk for social isolation.
If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental-health crisis or contemplating suicide, call or text 988. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.
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