Wednesday, July 31, 2019

High Suicide Rates in the Western U.S.

Gun control groups claim high suicide rates in the Western U.S. are because of widespread availability of guns.  I was watching the series Yellowstone, which is compelling drama (clearly modeled on King Lear), but like everything Hollywood, awash in environmentalist propaganda and where the most decent and heroic figure is a murderer.  Anyway, part of it takes place on a reservation (where the chief is a manipulative schemer awash in his own victimization (ignoring his Harvard MBA) and using it to justify greed.

Indian reservations are indeed bleak and horrible places, largely because alcoholism is a big problem, which leads, as it does in white society, to child abuse, rape, and domestic violence.  It suddenly struck me: are high suicide rates in the Western U.S. because of high Indian suicide rates?  The highest percentages of Indians are in the Western U.S.; the Indian suicide rate is 33.8/100,000, and white suicide rate is 28.2/100,000.   It is just barely possible that gun availability could play a part in high Western suicide rates, but it is also likely that high Western suicide rates are because of high Indian suicide rates.

If I had the time, I would use CDC's Wonder tool to extract suicides by race for the Western states and see if the white suicide rate is actually higher than for the East.  It was easier than I thought:
White Suicide Rates Age-Adjusted: Northeast: 9.7/100,000; Midwest, 12.4; West 14.5; South: 14.3.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Jul 31, 2019 11:08:19 AM]

The West is higher in white suicide rates, but within the 95% confidence interval for the South.

A little more digging: Looking for white gun suicide rates by region.  Northeast 3.3/100,000; Midwest 4.9/100,000; South 7.3; West, 4.1.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Jul 31, 2019 10:09:48 AM]

For all races: Northeast: 3.3; Midwest: 5.8; South, 7.4; West 6.4.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Jul 31, 2019 11:03:36 AM]

The West has high suicide rates, but not as bad as the South, and our gun suicide rate for all races is actually lower than the South.





5 comments:

SJ said...

I was playing around with the CDC tool for mapping causes/intents of death, and I remember seeing a noticeable change West of the Mississippi River. Most of the States to the East of that river had a slighly lower per-capita rate than did the State West of that river.

However, I didn't study the racial-groupings involved, and I didn't look too closely at other Regional subdivisions.

StormCchaser said...

I think the big problem with reservations is socialism. Nobody owns the land - the state (tribe) does. Residents cannot even get mortgages for their homes, because they don't own the land. The economy is in the hands of too often corrupt tribal officials.


Indians who leave the reservation do far better than those who remain, which suggests that alcoholism isn't the primary cause. We should do away with reservations, and give the land out to the individuals to do with as they wish.

Clayton Cramer said...

Parting out the reservations was tried before both in US and Mexico (Ley Lerdo). Both helped crooks to fleece the Indians.

StormCchaser said...

Indians who get fleeced are presumably acting out of free will. I say: divide them up. If people are suckers, that's their problem. Paternalism is what created the mess we have today.

If the crooks truly defraud them, prosecute the crooks and return the land.

Clayton Cramer said...

This might work better today because of higher education levels.