A record nearly 50,000 Americans, mostly men, died by suicide in 2022

Unsplash/Eric Ward
Unsplash/Eric Ward

Nearly 50,000 Americans committed suicide in 2022, the "highest number ever recorded in the United States," according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that the majority of suicides were men. 

In a report released this month from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, government researchers said the provisional 49,449 suicides registered nationwide in 2022 were 3% higher than the final number of 48,183 suicides recorded for 2021.

Researchers believe it will likely be higher once finalized, adding that the 2022 number was "the highest number ever recorded in the United States."

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"The 2022 final number of suicides is likely to be higher as additional death certificates with pending causes of death may be determined to be suicides," the researchers said.

A breakdown of the numbers shows that the age-adjusted suicide rate in 2022 of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 standard population was 1% higher than it was in 2021. Of the 49,449 suicides in 2022, some 39,255 were men, reflecting a 2% increase in male suicides over 2021, when 38,358 were registered. Suicides among females also showed a 4% increase over the period from 9,825 to 10,194.

The increase in suicides among women was concentrated among those aged 25–34, which showed a 7% increase. Suicide rates also increased between 2% and 9% for women in the age groups of 35–44, 45–54, 55–64, 65–74 and 75 and older.  

Suicide rates for younger females, the age groups of 10–14 and 15–24, registered declines over the period. There was a 22% decline in suicides among 10-14-year-old females.

The data also showed declines in suicide among males younger than 35. Significant decreases in suicide were noted among males 15-24, which went from 23.8 deaths per 100,000 population to 21.6 over the period. The suicide rate for males 25-34 fell from 31.3 to 30.2.

Suicide rates for men in all age groups 35 and older increased, however, from 2021 to 2022. Suicides rose 10% among men 55–64, resulting in an increase in their suicide rate from 26.6 to 29.3. Suicides among 45–54-year-old men rose 6% from a rate of 27.7 to 29.5.

The highest suicide rate, however, remained among males 75 and older and showed a rate increase of 42.2 to 43.7 in 2022.

A study released by the CDC in 2020 noted that blue-collar workers, particularly men, are especially vulnerable to suicide.

In a study from 2021, titled "The Great Divide: Education, Despair and Death," husband and wife research team, Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, concluded that increasing deaths by drugs, alcohol and suicide, known as "deaths of despair," are primarily concentrated among Americans who don't have a college degree, which appears to act as "a talisman" against these deaths.

"Deaths of despair, morbidity and emotional distress continue to rise in the U.S. The increases are largely borne by those without a four-year college degree — the majority of American adults," Case and Deaton wrote.

"For many less-educated Americans, the economy and society are no longer providing the basis for a good life. Concurrently, all-cause mortality in the U.S. is diverging by education — falling for the college-educated and rising for those without a degree — something not seen in other rich countries."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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