Canada’s suicide rate increased in the 1960s and 1970s, peaked in 1978 at 16.0 suicides per 100,000 population, and fell thereafter. The current suicide rate is 11.1 per 100,000 people, up from 10.4 in 2006.
The suicide rates of most peer countries dropped since the 1970s, with several exceptions. Ireland’s suicide rate increased steadily throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and most of the 1990s. It peaked in 1998 before tapering off. Ireland’s suicide rate of 11 suicides per 100,000 population in 2011 is much higher than the 1970 rate of 2.1 per 100,000.
Norway’s suicide rate rose in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, peaking at 17.3 in 1988. Although it has fallen since then, it remains higher than it was in the 1970s.
Both Belgium and Japan have had stubbornly high suicide rates. Belgium’s suicide rate has remained above 15 since the early 1960s, while Japan’s has been above 20 for most of those five decades.
An article in Time Online called suicide in Japan an “epidemic” and noted new and troubling trends: “People in their thirties are the most likely to kill themselves, and work-related depression is emerging as a prime motive.”4
Denmark has made the most progress in reducing deaths due to suicide, from 33.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 1980 to 11.6 in 2006.
Use the pull-down menu to compare the change in Canada’s suicide rate with that of its peers.