In the first installment of this series, we have looked at the situation in the ex-Warsaw Pact. The spike we saw in the suicide rates during the 1990s could be explained by the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, some of the other trends are a little harder to interpret. To see what we mean, let us look at some graphs.
We have already discussed the post-Warsaw pact situation, so here we will touch on the other regions.
Africa The African numbers are very low, but also quite rapidly increasing. A quick look at the data shows that essentially 100% of the numbers for Africa are the numbers for (the Republic of) South Africa, and our statistics (which start 1996 for that region coincide roughly with the African National Congress (ANC) rule in the country. It should be noted that ANC, despite the very good press it has received in the West is an avowed Communist and racist organization, and the economy of the country is being destroyed systematically. As for the numbers being low in absolute terms – this seems to be a phenomenon of
Asia The Asian numbers are largely those for South Korea and Japan, and these are quite heavily concentrated among the older (75+) cohort. This author’s guess is that there are a number of factors that enter:
- Life expectancy is very high in South Korea and Japan (and getting higher), so these cohorts are quite large (and growing larger with the low birth rates and the consequent aging of the population.
- There has been considerable social change in these generally very traditional societies. This change is particularly hard to countenance by older people.
- In Japan particularly, there has been the much-discussed economic stagnation, so it is possible that more older people feel themselves a burden on their family.
Middle East A look at the data shows that the suicide rates (and absolute numbers) in the Muslim countries is extremely low, and so the Middle Eastern numbers are dominated by Israel. Here, the period considered is (with exceptions, which, ironically,
Europe The Europe rate decline before 2006 seems a mystery, but as we shall see, it is not so hard to explain: the answer, in two
The Americas We now get to the most interesting (or depressing, if you prefer) region. The suicide rate in the Americas was dropping until around 2000 and then started growing rapidly. Now, the absolute number (9.2 at the peak) is not that high, but let us look at some representative countries: