A little-known piece of data that came up in a lunchtime conversation with colleagues a week ago: Unlike homicides, which are highest among older minors and young adults, suicide rates are lower among teenagers, rise in the 20s, rise again in the 30s, and then remain fairly stable, though with an odd trough in the 60s and something of a bump in the 80s.
My sense is that this will be a surprise to many, since media accounts often tend to focus on suicides among the young. That's understandable, because such suicides seem more tragic (more years of life lost), more preventable (on the theory that they're more likely to be impulsive reactions to shocks, such as a lover's departure, that adults over time get used to), and less understandable (since it's less likely that the suicide is a response to an incurable and painful physical illness, which I suspect suicides among the old are more likely to be). But in fact the young are less prone to suicide than the middle-aged and the old.
In any case, here's the data, from CDC's invaluable WISQARS site:
Number of Deaths
Suicides among women show a somewhat different pattern among the middle-aged and the older, though they're still relatively low among the young:
|Age Group||Number of Deaths||Population||Crude Rate|
Figures for men alone are not much different from the total ones, because men account for the great majority of suicides.