Suicide Rates Have Risen Among People of Color

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Whites were the only group to see a decline in suicide rate from 2018 to 2021, new data shows.

New research shows disproportionate increases in suicide rates have occurred among people of color over recent years, while the rate of such deaths among whites has notably fallen.

An analysis published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that whites were the only racial or ethnic group to see an overall drop in their age-adjusted suicide rate between 2018 and 2021, with a decline of 3.9% from 18.1 deaths per 100,000 to 17.4 per 100,000. That occurred despite an apparent uptick in the group’s rate between 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, people who were American Indian or Alaska Native had the highest proportional increase in suicide rate among racial or ethnic groups between 2018 and 2021, with a 26% rise from 22.3 deaths per 100,000 to 28.1 per 100,000. The suicide rate among Black individuals increased by about 19%, the study found, while the rate among Hispanic persons rose by nearly 7% over that time frame.

Suicide rate increases among Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and multiracial people were not deemed statistically significant, according to the study.

The data breakdown by race and ethnicity comes after suicides in the U.S. declined in both 2019 and 2020, only to jump back up in 2021 amid particular concerns about suicide in communities of color.

The new study points to a tally of 48,183 suicides occurring at a rate of 14.1 per 100,000 in 2021, up from 45,979 in 2020 at a rate of 13.5 and close to a peak of 48,344 deaths that occurred at a rate of 14.2 in 2018. While whites accounted for most of the increase in total suicides from 2020 to 2021 – at more than 1,200 of approximately 2,200 additional deaths – year-over-year percentage increases were greater among groups including Blacks and Hispanics.

The new analysis also shows that Black or African American individuals between 10 and 24 years old saw the largest proportional increase in suicide rate between 2018 and 2021 among age groups examined. The rate rose by nearly 37%, from 8.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2018 to 11.2 per 100,000 in 2021.

Among individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 years, the suicide rate rose by 5% overall and by nearly 34% for American Indians or Alaska Natives from 2018 to 2021. It rose by more than 19% among Hispanic persons in that age group, by approximately 23% among Black people and by nearly 21% among multiracial individuals. Children under 10 years old were excluded from age-group analyses, the study notes.