Thursday, January 15, 2015

Suicide data part 4

This next-to-the last installment of the series concerns the race of suicide victims, method of suicide, and month of year. The race breakdown is for all ages, but is mirrored when you look at youth 10-24 separately. The most notable thing about race is the over-representation of white victims: 92% vs. 86% of the population. Black victims are under-represented (2% vs. 5.3%), as are Hispanic victims (3% vs. 6.3%) and Asian victims (1% vs. 3.8%). The numbers are small, however, so these differences may not have much statistical power.

In the charts showing method, you will note that firearms are the leading method for all suicides, but for youth age 10-24, hanging is the most common method. There are big differences by gender, overdose being most common for women, and firearms for men. I'm slightly surprised that only 5% of the youth suicides were by overdose, compared to the overall suicides, where overdose is the third most common method at 20% of the total. Jumping seems to have been in the news often lately, but is actually one of the least common methods of suicide.

I don't see anything particularly noteworthy in the month of year charts, except for this: The peak months for youth 1-24 are all during the school year. The number are small, but when you do the same thing for attempted suicide--a much larger quantity--the same is true: all the peak months are in the school year. Perhaps this would point to the value of awareness by school personnel and peers, as they may be in a good position to intervene when a student or classmate is evidencing signs of suicidal ideation or heightend risk. Click each chart for a larger view.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Casady,

To date, I have found your presentation-case study on suicide in the City of Lincoln very compelling.

Other relevant data would be any statistics related to murder-suicide in the City of Lincoln, along with any evidence secured at the scene of a suicide (suicide note) that may provide clues into any common threads or "triggers" that may compel a individual to take such a drastic measure, such as: bullying, job loss, domestic relations, etc.

This information would prove to be crucial for resource deployment and/or predictive analysis.

Tom Casady said...


All good information, but it would require some serious data collection in investigative reports to find and code information about notes and potential triggers, since those are details that can't be queried from a database. Good project for a graduate student with a faculty advisor for a dissertation or thesis.

The number of murder/suicides easy. Five in the past 20 years.

Anonymous said...

What about rates by race?