The Corner

The Suicide Rate Soars as Americans Lose Hope

The Washington Post reports the sad numbers

The U.S. suicide rate has increased sharply since the turn of the century, led by an even greater rise among middle-aged white people, particularly women, according to federal data released Friday.

Last decade’s severe recession, more drug addiction, “gray divorce,” increased social isolation, and even the rise of the Internet and social media may have contributed to the growth in suicide, according to a variety of people who study the issue.

But economic distress — and dashed hopes generally — may underpin some of the increase, particularly for middle-aged white people. The data showed a 1 percent annual increase in suicide between 1999 and 2006 but a 2 percent yearly hike after that, as the economy deteriorated, unemployment skyrocketed and millions lost their homes.


Overall, the new data show, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States jumped 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, from 10.5 per 100,000 people to 13 per 100,000 people. The rate increased for both sexes and in all age groups from 10 to 74. The pace has continued into the first two quarters of 2015, separate data show.

And these numbers don’t include the Americans who are drinking themselves to death and dying from drug overdoses — two other indicia of despair that are responsible for the increasing death rate amongst middle-aged white Americans.

There’s much more to say about this, but millions of our fellow citizens — friends and neighbors — are experiencing existential crises that are far beyond the ability of politics to solve. With civil society faltering, families fracturing, and millions of Americans “bowling alone,” the human toll will only continue to rise. God forgive our nation for believing we could build a culture without you.


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