Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Suicide Rates in Old Age: An International Comparison

I have compared elderly suicide rates among 34 countries. As we can easily observe from the figure below, South Korea’s elderly suicide rates are a big problem in the country.
In Korea, among 100,000 people who are 75 years old and over, 109 people committed suicide in 2009. The second-highest suicide rate in this comparison (42/100,000 in Hungary) is less than half of the tragic number.

Source: WHO (2014)
Note: All data (‘number of deaths’ and ‘age group population’) are from 2009, except Canada (2005) and United States of America (2007).

South Korea’s high suicide rates among elders might be partially caused by their poverty. Among OECD countries, South Korean elders suffer the most from destitution.
Source: OECD (2015)
Note: All data are from 2013 or most recent year.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2015). Pensions at a Glance 2015: OECD and G20 Indicators. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. [Full-text at http://j.mp/OECD_Pensions_2015]

World Health Organization. (2014). WHO Mortality Database. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. [Data at http://apps.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/mortality/whodpms/]

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