Rising Suicide Rates in America – Facts About Suicide
Find out more facts about suicide and suicide rates in America. Ever wonder what cities and states have the highest suicide rates and why?
By looking at the chart you can see that the states in white like: California, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Ohio have the lowest suicide rate while the darker states like West Virginia, Oregon, New Mexico, and Nevada, have the highest suicide rate in the country. In this article I will discuss a few of the socioeconomic factors that affect suicide rates in America. Latest studies show conflicting information. For example, bad weather and cold winters may be a contributing factor to the higher suicide rate of Oregon, but wouldn’t that apply to Washington as well? Yet Washington has a much lower suicide rate. Portland, OR, has on average 30 days of more sunshine than Seattle yet has a MUCH higher suicide rate. I’ll give you one last spoiler: U.S. city with the highest suicide rate?? Las Vegas, NV. If you want to know why, you will just have to keep on reading!
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), one of sociology’s pioneers, showed that social forces are at work even in such an intensely personal action such as suicide. Durkheim, found that some categories of people are more likely than others to take their own lives. He found that men, Protestants, wealthy people, and the unmarried each had much higher suicide rates than women, Catholics and Jews, the poor, and married people. This still holds true to this day here in the United States. Durkheim explained these differences in terms of social integration: Categories of people with strong social ties had low suicide rates, and more individualistic people had higher suicide rates.
In Durkheim’s time, men had much more freedom than women. But despite its advantages, freedom weakens social ties and thus increases the rate of suicide. Likewise, more individualistic Protestants were more likely to commit suicide than more traditional Catholics and Jews, whose rituals encourages social ties. The wealthy have more freedom than the poor- but once again, at the cost of a higher suicide rate.
In 2007, in the U.S. there were 12.9 recorded suicides for every 100,000 white people, which is more than twice the rate of African Americans. For both races, suicide was more common among men than women. White men are almost four times more likely to take their lives than white women. The higher suicide rate among white people and men reflects their greater wealth and freedom, just as the lower rate among women and people of color reflects their limited social choices. Just as Derkheim did a century ago, we can see general sociological patterns in the personal actions of particular individuals.
Oddly enough Greenland is the suicide capitol of the world with an average of 108.1 suicides for every 100,000 inhabitants versus the USA’s 12.1. Studies have shown that suicide tends to be higher in poorly populated areas. If you know anything about Greenland you know its the worlds largest Island and is the least densely populated country on the planet. The lowest in the world may or may not surprise you. It consist of mostly poor countries like the Philippines (2.1), Peru (1.1), Guatemala (3.6) and even Mexico beats us with a 4.0!
In a U.S. city by city comparison data shows that the happier and wealthier the city the higher the suicide rate: (rates are per 100,000 inhabitants) City Data from the National Association of County and City Health Officials 
- Las Vegas, NV – 34.5
- Colorado Springs, CO – 26.1
- Tucson, AZ – 25
- Sacramento, CA 22.7
- Albuquerque, NM 21
- Mesa, AZ 19.6
- Miami, FL 17.1
- Denver, CO 16.2
- Portland, OR 15.2
- Jacksonville, FL 15
Writing this article has suddenly made me depressed since I’m a single, white, unmarried, self-employed male who is moving to Portland. Can’t be any worse than where I live now- want to guess where?