Socio-economic factors and suicide: The importance of inequality
In this article we argue that socio-economic factors, particularly income inequality, have greatly contributed to the increase in suicide in a particular cohort. Age specific suicide rates drawn from annual mortality statistics are analysed. This clearly shows a cohort effect; suicide rates among 15-24 year olds rose markedly during the 1980s, peaking ten years later, and were supplanted by 25-34 year olds by the late 1990s. The first decade of this century has seen the rise of suicide rates among 35-44 year olds. The timing and average age of the displacement of the most suicidal group is very suggestive: every ten years the next oldest 10 year age-specific group becomes the most suicidal. This appears linked to a dramatic downturn in the New Zealand economy as these individuals reached adulthood; relative poverty and social comparisons seem important corollaries. This cohort continues to engage in suicidal behaviour at a significantly higher rate than others.
New Zealand Sociology
Sociology not elsewhere classified