There are twice as many suicides as homicides in California.1
Over the past decade, statewide suicide rates have been rising.1Suicide is a major health concern in California that can both have immediate and long-term impacts on individuals, families, and entire communities.1Lasting effects include, and are not limited to, change in family structure, household income, psychological impacts/disorders, chronic diseases.1 Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor.2 Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as relationship issues, substance use, physical health, and unemployment, poverty, legal, or housing stress.2
This indicator tracks the age-adjusted suicide rate per 100,000 people.
In 2010 (baseline year), there were 10.0 suicides per 100,000 people. The most recent rate available is 10.6 (2019). The target is to be determined (TBD) for this indicator.
Deaths Are Only The Tip of The Iceberg
In 2017, there were 4,323 suicides in California.1
For every 4,000 deaths due to suicide, there were approximately 34,000 emergency department visits for injuries due to self-harm.1
Based on only medical and work-loss costs, suicides result in an estimated cost of $4.9 billion per year in California.1
National Comparison and Trends
California rates are lower than the national rates for suicide. California’s suicide rate is 10.7 while the national suicide rate is 13.4.1
Suicide rates have increased in California in the most recent decade and are now double homicide rates.1
Suicide Among Young People
Suicide risk peaks throughout the life course, generally increasing with age. But it is also a leading cause of premature death. The impact of suicide on young people is a major contributor of years of life lost.
Specifically, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults ages 15-24 in California.1
Data Snapshot: Trends & Disparities
The number of hospitalizations for nonfatal self-harm is nearly 20% higher among females.1,3
Suicide rates peak at multiple stages of life throughout the lifespan, first among young adults (ages 25-29), followed by middle age (ages 50-64), and are highest at ages 85 and above. 1
After age 40, rates of suicide begin to increase dramatically. 1
Suicide rates are highest among American Indian/Alaska Native and White populations. 1
Suicide rates are highest in northern California and along the eastern portions of the state. These are predominantly rural counties. The highest county rate is in Lake County (30.4) and the lowest rate in Santa Clara County (7.5).1
Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 People, Over Time
Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 People, Demographic Category
Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 People, by County
Indicator Name: Suicide
Indicator Description: Age Adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 people
Data Limitations: Data does not include out-of-state deaths for California residents, nor in-state deaths for non-California residents. Physician-assisted suicides are not included.
Indicator Source: California Comprehensive Death File / Death Stat Master File
Indicator Calculation Methodology: Number of deaths determined to be a suicide (as per coroner/medical examiner) divided by total population, adjusted to a standardized age distribution of a population of 100,000
Data Collection Methodology: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHSI/Pages/Data%20Types%20and%20Limitations.aspx
Program URL Link: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/SACB/Pages/Program-Landing2.aspx
Reporting Cycle: Annually, usually in Fall
Reporting Lag: 1 year
1. California Department Public Health (2018). Preventing Violence in California: Data Brief 1: Overview of Homicide and Suicide Deaths in California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Rising across the U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/index.html
3. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
Stories & Solutions
California Reducing Disparities Project – Phase 1
Focuses on developing strategies to transform the public mental health system and identifying community-based promising practices in each of the five targeted populations. Read more »
California Reducing Disparities Project – Phase 2
Focus on funding and evaluating the promising practices identified in Phase 1, as well as advancing the strategies outlined in this plan. There has not been a project of this scope before; one that recognizes and elevates community practices and identifies strategies for systems change. Throughout this process, California will [...]
California Reducing Disparities Project – Stakeholder Generated Reports
Stakeholder workgroups focusing on five populations developed individual Population Reports that included recommendations for reducing disparities and removing barriers to accessing programs and services, along with an inventory of community-defined evidence and promising practices that could support efforts to reduce disparities.
Share Your Story
Want to engage in moving the dial on Living Well? Share your impact story!