News & Politics

Alaska, Utah Top List of States with Highest Suicide Rates

Screenshot from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suicide report.

Update: The CDC sent PJ Media the most recent data after this story was originally published. The 2015 numbers are still valid, and the story has been updated with another ranking at the bottom.

On Friday, news broke that American chef Anthony Bourdain had taken his own life. Earlier this week, Gallup found Americans increasingly morally accepting of suicide. Also this week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that suicide rates are increasing across the U.S.

In its most recent survey, Gallup found that 20 percent of Americans described suicide as “morally acceptable,” up two points from 2017, and up from 13 percent in 2001.

Even as Americans became more accepting of suicide, more Americans also took their own lives. New data from the CDC found that deaths by suicide have increased by around 30 percent since 1999, claiming nearly 45,000 lives in 2016. Suicide rates have increased in 44 different states, among all ethnic and racial groups and in every age range except adults older than 75. Chillingly, in half of all states, suicide rates jumped 30 percent or more.

The most recent CDC report did not break down the exact rates and numbers from each state, but PJ Media has compiled a report from CDC data from 2015, the most recent year available. The map above demonstrates which states have experienced the greatest increases in suicide rates during the past 15 years.

Here are the fifty states, ranked by percentage of deaths caused by suicide. In the United States overall, suicides cause only 1.6 percent of deaths. Some of these states tie, so the rankings are slightly arbitrary.

1. Alaska: 4.7 percent.

2. Utah: 3.6 percent.

3. Wyoming: 3.3 percent.

4. Colorado: 3 percent.

5. Idaho: 2.8 percent.

6. New Mexico: 2.8 percent.

7. Montana: 2.7 percent.

8. Nevada: 2.4 percent.

9. Arizona: 2.3 percent.

10. South Dakota: 2.2 percent.

11. Oregon: 2.1 percent.

12. Washington: 2.1 percent.

13. North Dakota: 2 percent.

14. Oklahoma: 2 percent.

15. New Hampshire: 1.9 percent.

16. Arkansas: 1.8 percent.

17. Hawaii: 1.8 percent.

18. Kansas: 1.8 percent.

19. Missouri: 1.8 percent.

20. Texas: 1.8 percent.

21. Florida: 1.7 percent.

22. Kentucky: 1.7 percent.

23. Louisiana: 1.7 percent.

24. Minnesota: 1.7 percent.

25. Vermont: 1.7 percent.

26. Virginia: 1.7 percent.

27. Wisconsin: 1.7 percent.

28. California: 1.6 percent.

29. Georgia: 1.6 percent.

30. Maine: 1.6 percent.

31. North Carolina: 1.6 percent.

32. South Carolina: 1.6 percent.

33. Tennessee: 1.6 percent.

34. Indiana: 1.5 percent.

35. Iowa: 1.5 percent.

36. Michigan: 1.5 percent.

37. West Virginia: 1.5 percent.

38. Alabama: 1.4 percent.

39. Delaware: 1.4 percent.

40. Mississippi: 1.4 percent.

41. Ohio: 1.4 percent.

42. Pennsylvania: 1.4 percent.

43. Connecticut: 1.3 percent.

44. Illinois: 1.3 percent.

45. Nebraska: 1.3 percent.

46. Maryland: 1.2 percent.

47. Rhode Island: 1.2 percent.

48. Massachusetts: 1.1 percent.

49. New Jersey: 1.1 percent.

50. New York: 1.1 percent.

States can also be ranked on the basis of how many people in 100,000 commit suicide. This rate produces a different ranking of states, as seen below. This ranking proves slightly more exact, although a few states still share the same number. The United States only has 13.7 suicides per 100,000, and if it were ranked among the other states, it would rank 37th.

1. Alaska: 27.2.

2. Wyoming: 26.8.

3. Montana: 26.3.

4. New Mexico: 24.

5. Idaho: 21.7.

6. Utah: 21.

7. Oklahoma: 20.2.

8. South Dakota: 20.2.

9. Colorado: 20.

10. Arkansas: 19.4.

11. Nevada: 19.3.

12. Oregon: 18.9.

13. Arizona: 18.7.

14. West Virginia: 18.4.

15. Maine: 17.7.

16. Kentucky: 17.5.

17. Missouri: 17.3.

18. New Hampshire: 17.1.

19. Vermont: 16.5.

20. Kansas: 16.4.

21. North Dakota: 16.4.

22. Tennessee: 16.2.

23. Washington: 15.9.

24. Florida: 15.8.

25. Louisiana: 15.5.

26. Alabama: 15.4.

27. South Carolina: 15.2.

28. Wisconsin: 15.2.

29. Pennsylvania: 14.8.

30. Indiana: 14.5.

31. Mississippi: 14.4.

32. Michigan: 14.2.

33. Ohio: 14.2.

34. Hawaii: 14.

35. North Carolina: 14.

36. Iowa: 13.9.

37. Minnesota: 13.3.

38. Virginia: 13.3.

39. Delaware: 12.9.

40. Georgia: 12.9.

41. Texas: 12.4.

42. Rhode Island: 12.

43. Nebraska: 11.8.

44. Connecticut: 10.7.

45. California: 10.6.

46. Illinois: 10.6.

47. Massachusetts: 9.4.

48. Maryland: 9.2.

49. New Jersey: 8.8.

50. New York: 8.3.

Update: New CDC numbers.

The CDC sent PJ Media the most up-to-date ranking of states by suicide rate, covering the years 2014-2016. The CDC broke down the results for each state by gender. In each state, more men committed suicide than women. In the U.S. overall, 15.4 people per 100,000 committed suicide. Among men, that number jumped to 24.5 per 100,000, while only 6.9 women committed suicide per 100,000.

Below is PJ Media’s list using the CDC data.

1. Montana: 29.2.

2. Alaska: 28.8.

3. Wyoming: 28.8.

4. New Mexico: 26.

5. Utah: 25.2.

6. Idaho: 24.7.

7. Oklahoma: 23.5.

8. Colorado: 23.2.

9. Nevada: 23.1.

10. South Dakota: 22.6.

11. West Virginia: 21.4.

12. Arkansas: 21.2.

13. Oregon: 21.1.

14. Arizona: 20.9.

15. North Dakota: 20.9.

16. Missouri: 20.

17. New Hampshire: 20.

18. Vermont: 19.7.

19. Kansas: 19.4.

20. Kentucky: 19.3

21. Maine: 18.5.

22. Tennessee: 18.2.

23. South Carolina: 17.7.

24. Washington: 17.6.

25. Alabama: 17.5.

26. Indiana: 17.1.

27. Louisiana: 17.

28. Wisconsin: 16.5.

29. Florida: 16.4.

30. Pennsylvania: 16.3.

31. Iowa: 16.

32. Ohio: 15.8.

33. Michigan: 15.6.

34. North Carolina: 15.3.

35. Hawaii: 15.2.

36. Mississippi: 15.2.

37. Georgia: 15.

38. Minnesota: 15.

39. Virginia: 15.

40. Nebraska: 14.8.

41. Texas: 14.5.

42. Delaware: 14.4.

43. Rhode Island: 12.6.

44. Illinois: 12.2.

45. California: 12.1.

46. Connecticut: 11.5.

47. Maryland: 10.8.

48: Massachusetts: 10.

49. New York: 9.3.

50. New Jersey: 9.2.

51. Washington, D.C.: 6.9.

In general, sparsely populated Western states tend to have the highest suicide rates. It seems that states dominated by cities, by contrast, tend to have the lowest suicide rates.