The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday that 49,449 Americans died by suicide in 2022. The figure represents a 2.6% increase from the 48,183 suicides recorded in 2021, marking the highest tally ever documented, based on the CDC’s preliminary data.
Notably, adults aged 65 and older witnessed the most significant uptick in suicides, which surged by 8.1% compared to the previous year. Following closely, the age group of 45 to 64 experienced a 6.6% rise. Those between 25 and 44 years reported a more modest increase of 0.7%.
Examining gender and ethnicity, both men and women experienced growth rates in suicide — 2.3% and 2.8% respectively. Among racial and ethnic groups, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders recorded the steepest increase at 15.9% for 2022. The multiracial demographic followed with an increase of 21%. However, there was no recorded rise among American Indian and Alaska Native individuals.
In a more reassuring development, suicides among individuals aged 18 to 34, which includes teenagers, and young adults, declined by 8.4%, as indicated in the report.
Highlighting a broader trend, the CDC noted that suicide numbers have generally been on the rise since 2006, albeit with exceptions in 2019 and 2020. Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s chief medical officer, emphasized the urgency of addressing this growing public health crisis. “The troubling increase in suicides requires immediate action across our society,” she said in a press release.
According to data from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, young Black men are particularly vulnerable, with a suicide rate more than triple that of Black women.