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:

Since 2011, the age-adjusted suicide death rate has increased for all races and ethnicities. For American Indian and Alaska Native populations, the age-adjusted suicide death rate increased from 16.5 per 100,000 in 2011 to 23.9 per 100,000 in 2020.​1

American Indian and Alaska Native adults are at highest risk for past-year suicide-related thoughts, followed by White and Hispanic adults. For past-year suicide attempts, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander adults are at the highest risk, followed by Hispanic adults and then White adults.2

Among youth, suicidal thoughts and behaviors vary by race and ethnicity. AI/AN, multiple race, and Asian high school youth have the highest percentages of seriously considering attempting suicide. AI/AN and multiple race youth had the highest percentages of making a suicide plan. By far, AI/AN had the highest percentage of attempting suicide.3


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2021). 1999-2020 Wide Ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research (WONDER), Multiple Cause of Death files [Data file]. Retrieved from http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
  2. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2021). 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2020-nsduh-detailed-tables
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. (2021). 1991-2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data [Data file]. Retrieved from 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.