Suicide rate among middle-aged Americans has risen 28.4 percent, a federal report says.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Thursday that suicide rate among men and women between the ages of 35 and 64 rose from 13.7 suicides per 100,000 population in 1999 to 17.6 in 2010.
The recent economic downturn is a possible contributing factor, said the report, adding that historically, suicide rates tend to correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during times of economic hardship.
The CDC used mortality data collected by the National Vital Statistics System from 1999 to 2010. The analysis looked at trends in suicide rates by gender, age group, race, state and region of residence, as well as suicide methods.
Among ethnic populations the greatest increases were observed among American Indians and Alaska Natives (65 percent), and whites (40 percent).
By gender, the suicide rate increased among men and women by 27.3 and 31.5 percent respectively. Suicide rates rose significantly across all four geographic regions and in 39 of the 50 US states, the CDC said.
The three most common methods used to commit suicide were gunshot wound, poisoning and suffocation, usually by hanging. The CDC said suicide by suffocation saw the greatest increase in the studied period.
The CDC analysis showed that in 2009 the number of deaths by suicide exceeded that of motor vehicle crashes in the country.