June 24, 1974

The Suicide Capital of America

Author Affiliations

Pomona, NJ

JAMA. 1974;228(13):1637. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230380015006

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To the Editor.—  The incidence of suicide is usually expressed as the number of suicidal deaths for every 100,000 living persons in a given year and locale. However, the incidence of suicide can be described as a percentage of all deaths in a given year and locale. For example, the suicide rate as a proportion of those living increases with age in the United States, whereas the incidence as a proportion of the deaths decreases with age.To explore this, the incidence of suicide for the 57 major metropolitan areas of the United States for 1960 was computed by both methods. Unlike age, for which the two measures are inversely related, the two measures were directly related over the cities (Spearman ρ=.997). However, there were minor changes in the rankings. The suicide capital of the United States in 1960 switched from Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla, to San Jose, Calif. Providence, RI,