This post finds that suicide rates (deaths per 100,000 people) are four times higher in rural areas than in large metropolitan areas. Furthermore, men have higher rates of suicide than women across all metropolitan and rural areas. Suicide rates for Asians and American Indians were highest in rural areas compared with Whites and Blacks. And, across all age groups, suicide rates were highest among residents of rural areas.
Turning first to the impact of gender on suicide rates by metropolitan areas, I run a regression of suicide rate (deaths per 100,000 people) on population and urban area (Large Central Metro, Large Fringe Metro, Medium Metro, Small Metro, Micropolitan Non-Metro, Non-Core Non-Metro). I find that, for women, those in a rural area are twice as likely to commit suicide than those in a large metropolitan area. For men, I find that those in a rural area are 7.59 times as likely to commit suicide than those in a metropolitan area. Therefore, the suicide rates for men in rural areas are almost four times as high as the suicide rates for women in rural areas.
Turning next to the impact of race on suicide rates by metropolitan area, I find that Asians and American Indians have higher suicide rates in rural counties than Whites and Blacks. Interestingly, for Blacks, those in a rural area have a lower suicide rate than Blacks in metropolitan areas–the opposite effect of all the race categories. However, the negative impact of being in a rural area on suicide rates for Blacks is highly insignificant, which means that the impact is likely to be due to chance.
Findings by age group revealed that those 85 and above had the highest suicide rate in rural counties as compared with large metropolitan areas. Their suicide rate in rural areas was 47 times the rate of those 85 and above in large metropolitan areas. Those in the 55 to 65 age bracket had the lowest suicide rate in rural areas. Their suicide rate in rural areas was 5 times the rate of those 55 to 65 in large metropolitan areas.
The findings of this short post reveal that trends in suicide rates are impacted by whether a person lives in a large metropolitan area or in a rural area. Suicide rates are higher for men in rural areas than for women in rural areas. Asians and American Indians have higher suicide rates in rural areas than Blacks and Whites. Finally, those who are 85 and over have the highest suicide rate in rural areas.