Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Understanding racial and ethnic differences in rates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide deaths is essential for more effectively directing suicide prevention efforts. Racial and ethnic groups differ in their access to culturally appropriate behavioral health treatment, experiences of discrimination and historical trauma, and other factors that may be related to suicide risk.1 At the same time, our understanding of racial and ethnic differences in suicide and suicidal behaviors is limited by underreporting and other limitations in data collection systems.2,3

To find data on specific populations, click on the following links:

The suicide rate among American Indian and Alaska Native populations increased from 20 per 100,000 in 2015 to 24 per 100,000 in 2020. In that same time period, suicide rates among Black Americans increased from 6 to 8 per 100,000. Suicide rates among Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander populations saw minimal increases and suicide rates among Whites remained relatively stable. The overall U.S. rate stayed relatively the same between 2015 and 2020.1

In 2020, American Indian and Alaska Native adults were at the highest risk for past-year suicidal thoughts, followed by White and Hispanic adults. Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander adults were at the highest risk for past-year suicide attempts, followed by Hispanic adults and then White adults.2

Among high school youth, suicidal thoughts and behaviors vary by race and ethnicity. In 2021, American Indian and Alaska Native youth were more likely than youth of other racial or ethnic groups to seriously consider attempting suicide, make a suicide plan, or attempt suicide.3


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). 1999-2020 Wide ranging online data for epidemiological research (WONDER), multiple cause of death files [Data file]. National Center for Health Statistics. http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
  2. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2023). 2021 National survey on drug use and health: Detailed tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). 1991-2021 High school youth risk behavior survey data [Data file]. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/

The charts and graphs in this section are also available as a PowerPoint slide set. Feel free to use this slide set to deliver a presentation about the scope of the suicide problem.