A new study [early 2012], published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, evaluates the economic conditions and suicide rates in New York City over the last 3 decades. The authors evaluated levels of economic activity and the volatility of the New York Stock Exchange, as well as all suicides among New York City residents, between 1990 and 2006. Overall, during the study period, there were nearly 8100 suicides. The rate of suicide declined from 8.1 per 100,000 residents in 1990 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 1999; it remained relatively stable through 2006.
Source.There was a negative association between economic activity and rates of suicide, and suicides were highest when economic activity was at its lowest. Suicide rates varied according to gender, age, race, and sociodemographic status, and most of the association with economic activity was attributed to suicides of older, white males. This group accounted for more suicides during economic downturns than other demographic groups. Stock market volatility was not associated with changes in suicide rates, but, the authors report that this may be due to the small sample size of people invested in the stock market.