Black Populations

Black and African American are terms used to describe people descended from any of the Black racial groups of Africa.1 On this web page we use the term Black, and the data do not include people of Hispanic ethnicity. In 2018, Black populations composed an estimated 13.4% of the U.S. population.2

At 7.7 per 100,000, the age-adjusted suicide rate for Black populations in 2020 was under half the overall U.S. suicide rate of 13.5 per 100,000.2

Among Black populations, suicide rates peak during adolescence and young adulthood, then decline through age 85+. This is a different pattern than is seen in the overall U.S. population, where suicide rates peak at age 45 to 54, start a downward decline until age 74, and then incline starting at age 75 through age 85+.​2

As in the overall U.S. population, the suicide death rate for men is more than three times the rate for women in Black populations. The suicide death rate for the overall U.S. population is approximately double that of Black populations for both males and females.​2

Compared to the overall U.S. population, Black adults reported a lower percentage of past-year serious thoughts of suicide. Past-year plans and attempts were very similar for Black adults and the overall U.S. population.​1

Among high school youth, a smaller percentage of Black youth report seriously considering attempting suicide or making a suicide plan in the past year than the overall U.S. population. However, a higher percentage of Black youth have attempted suicide in the past year. Black youth reporting a suicide attempt that required treatment was about equal to the overall U.S. population.3


  1. 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
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2020). 1999-2020 Wide Ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research (WONDER), Multiple Cause of Death files [Data file]. Retrieved from
  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

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.