More suicides

07/07/2016 15:00
Last year, 1,871 people in the Netherlands committed suicide, the highest number ever, but Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that suicide rates were higher in the period covering the latter half of the 1970s up to the end of the 80s.

In recent years, the number of completed suicides has risen from 1,353 in 2007 to 1,871 in 2015. On average, five people commit suicide every day. If population growth is taken into consideration, the suicide rate is also increasing. With 11.0 in every 100 thousand residents, the rate is currently back at the level of the early 1990s. The highest suicide rate was recorded in the early 1980s (14.4 per 100 thousand population in 1984).


Noticeable increase suicides 20 to 29-year-old men and over-60s

The number of male suicides increased by 30 in 2015 compared to 2014, whereas the number of female suicides hardly changed. Suicides rose rapidly among men in their twenties (from 104 to 133) and older than 60 (from 324 to 396). In other age groups, the number of suicides either declined or remained almost unchanged.

Suicide by age

Suicide more common in widowers and divorced men

Suicide is more common in men than women. The figures for last year were 1,280 men and 591 women. The highest suicide rate was recorded among divorced men and widowers: 45 per 100 thousand. The rate is about four times higher than for married men and men who have never been married. The suicide rate for divorced women is also higher, but the gap is not as wide as for men.

Suicide by marital status, 2015

Suicide major cause of death in age group 20-39

Mortality in the 20-39 age category is relatively low with suicide accounting for nearly one-quarter of deaths (408 in 1,702). In this age group more people die from suicide than from cancer (378), cardiovascular diseases (146) or traffic accidents (124). In 40 to 59-year-olds, suicide was the most common cause of death after cancer and cardiovascular diseases. From the age of 60 onwards, the percentage of people who commit suicide is declining.

As mortality is much higher in over-60s than in young people, the percentage of suicide deaths in this age category is very low (less than 0.5 percent). But of all people who deliberately killed themselves in 2015, more than 30 percent were over the age of 60.

Dutch suicide rate relatively low

Suicide is a relatively rare phenomenon in the Netherlands compared to other European countries. The most recent figures show that Russia has the highest suicide rate (21 per 100 thousand), followed by Hungary and Slovenia. The rate is also fairly high in Belgium and France.

Suicide in various European countries, 2013