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September 24, 1997

Regional Variations in Suicide Rates—United States, 1990-1994

JAMA. 1997;278(12):974-975. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550120032013

IN 1994, suicides were committed by 31,142 persons in the United States (crude rate: 12.0 suicides per 100,000 population), and suicide was the ninth leading cause of death.1 Although rates of suicide have varied by geographic region (e.g., rates have consistently been higher in western states2), reasons for these regional variations are unknown but may reflect regional differences in certain demographic variables. For example, suicide rates have been higher for males, for the elderly, and for certain racial/ethnic groups (e.g., non-Hispanic whites and American Indians/ Alaskan Natives).2 CDC examined U.S. suicide rates from 1990 through 1994 to determine whether regional variations in suicide rates are affected by differences in age, race/Hispanic-ethnicity, and sex and to examine whether method-specific rates varied by region. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate that, despite adjustments for certain demographic variables