Kevin, at The Smallest Minority, wrote a piece about suicide and the means by which people do it. One of the points raised by gun control advocates is how firearms are among the most common means by which people kill themselves in the United States. In my opinion, the availability of an easy means to kill oneself isn’t why people kill themselves.

Nevertheless, that’s not where I’m going with this. Kevin references a WHO study along with a list of suicide rates per 100,000 people, broken down by country and sex. These figures are limited to those of the G8 countries. They were compiled in 2004, though each country’s most current figures are from the year listed in the second column. Also, I calculated the average figure.

Country Year Males Females Average
Russia 2002 69.3 11.9 40.6
Japan 2000 35.2 13.4 24.3
France 2001 26.1 9.4 17.8
Germany 2001 20.4 7.4 13.9
Canada 2000 18.4 5.2 11.8
United States 2000 17.1 4.0 10.6
United Kingdom 1999 11.8 3.3 7.6
Italy 2000 10.9 3.5 7.2

What came as the biggest surprise to me was the disparity in rates between the sexes. With few exceptions, men killed themselves at least twice as often as women. Of the 99 countries represented in the WHO study, only two have women with higher suicide rates: China and Sao Tome and Principe.