Suicide Rates Have Soared among Middle-Aged White Women in the U.S.

Julene Kemp Cooney

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Suicide rates among middle-aged white women in the U.S. have soared since the early 2000s. Rates for white women have increased across all age groups, but they are the highest among those ages 35-64. Between 1999 and 2017, rates among white women increased by 87% for ages 15-24, 65% for ages 25-34, 52% for ages 35-44, 82% for ages 45-54, 92% for ages 55-64, and 16% for those ages 65 and older. Overall, rates among white women are highest for those ages 45-54, reaching an unprecedented rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 white women in 2017.  The suicide rate among white men has also increased significantly since the early 2000s and stands at about 2.5 times higher than the rate for white women. Among both men and women, suicide rates for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are much lower than those for whites. American Indians have rates that are comparable to those for whites. Since 2014, suicide rates among racial/ethnic minorities have been climbing.

Data Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017; Analysis: Julene Kemp Cooney

About the Author

Julene Kemp Cooney is a PhD student in the Sociology department at Syracuse University (

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