The number of suicides in the United States hit a record high in 2022 according to new provisional data from the federal government.
An estimated 44,449 people committed suicide in 2022, which is 3% higher than the 48,183 people who did so in 2021 - the previous high, according to a Wednesday report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
The suicide rate in 2022 was 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people vs. 14.1 per 100,000 in 2021, marking the highest rate since 1941.
The numbers will likely be higher in the final report due to lagging suicide reports, according to the authors.
"Reporting of suicides in particular can be delayed due to investigations regarding the cause and circumstances surrounding the death."
By sex, the suicide rate for males were 1% higher in 2022 than in 2021 at 23.1 per 100,000 vs. 22.7. For women the rate was 4% higher vs. 2021.
By age, the suicide rate declined for those aged 34 and under, and increased for those 35 and older. The rate for men aged 75 and older was the highest last year at nearly 44 per 100,000 people. While women have suicidal thoughts more frequently, men are four times as likely to actually do so.
This should be the number one news story every day. Why are suicides hitting an all-time high in America?— Benjamin Carlson (@bfcarlson) November 29, 2023
Why are so many American men killing themselves? pic.twitter.com/UMdayspDBj
By race, Native Americans had the highest rate at 26.7 per 100,000 - though the rate was 5% lower in 2022 vs. 2021 and this was the only group to experience a decline in rates, ABC News reports. All other races had a 1-3% increase in suicide rates.
Life Expectancy Rebounding
On the bright side, the same report reveals that life expectancy has increased 1.1 years from 2021, a slight rebound from the depths of covid, but still not back to pre-covid levels.
Life expectancy at birth represents the average number of years an infant would live. The improvement was primarily driven by a drop in Covid deaths, but decreases in heart disease and cancer mortality also helped.
There’s still more ground to recover to get back to pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, average life expectancy was 78.8 years. In the two years following the onset of the pandemic, life expectancy had the biggest back-to-back decline in a century.
Life expectancy rose for all races in 2022. Asian and Hispanic people can both expect to live at least 80 years — longer than White, Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people. -Bloomberg
The biggest gains by race were seen in the Native American and Hispanic populations.
"In 2022, the number of deaths from COVID-19 was not insubstantial," Elizabeth Arias, a researcher with the NCHS who was the lead author of the report, told CNN (via the Epoch Times) "Holding everything else constant, we’d need to see another large decline in COVID mortality for life expectancy to increase."
"We only made up close to half of the loss [in life expectancy], and for some groups, it’s even less," Arias continued. "We would need the same pattern that we observed in 2022 again in 2023 and then, perhaps, the following year to completely make up the loss."