US methods of suicide

In the USA, there are three particularly popular methods of successful suicide: firearms, suffocation (commonly carbon monoxide poisoning) and poisoning (commonly by drugs). Naturally, in the US, firearms are much easier to come by than other countries, hence their relative popularity in the US as a suicide method.

US methods of suicide 2006

US methods of suicide 2006

When it comes to successful suicide in the US, men account for 79% of all suicides, meaning they much more successful at it than women. The popularity of the methods used also varies a little between the sexes. Whist for men firearms are by far the most popular, followed by suffocation/hanging and poisoning, women have poisoning as their most popular method, followed by firearms then suffocation/hanging.

The table below shows the relative popularity of each suicide method for both men and women in 2006 (this is the most recent data available). The top three methods account for over 90% of all suicides in the USA.

Method

Men

 

Women

 

All adults

Firearm

14,734

56.0%

 

2,149

30.7%

 

16,883

50.7%

Suffocation/hanging

6,173

23.5%

 

1,318

18.9%

 

7,491

22.5%

Poisoning

3,294

12.5%

 

2,815

40.3%

 

6,109

18.3%

Fall

535

2.0%

 

190

2.7%

 

725

2.2%

Cut/pierce

506

1.9%

 

92

1.3%

 

598

1.8%

Other Spec., classifiable

266

1.0%

 

93

1.3%

 

359

1.1%

Drowning

254

1.0%

 

148

2.1%

 

402

1.2%

Other Spec., NEC

195

0.7%

 

66

0.9%

 

261

0.8%

Fire/burn

140

0.5%

 

53

0.8%

 

193

0.6%

Unspecified

108

0.4%

 

33

0.5%

 

141

0.4%

Transportation related

102

0.4%

 

35

0.5%

 

137

0.4%

Struck by or against

1

0.0%

 

0

0.0%

 

1

0.0%

Total

26,308

 

 

6,992

 

 

33,300

 

Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), produced by National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Available from http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html.