data, statistics > UK > 2010s
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Suicide numbers rise sharply,
especially among middle-aged men
Male suicides at highest level for a decade
while rate for men aged 45-59
is at worst level since 1986
Tuesday 22 January 2013
This article was published on guardian.co.uk
at 13.38 GMT
on Tuesday 22 January 2013.
It was last modified at 14.19 GMT
on Tuesday 22 January 2013.
Significant rises in the overall UK suicide rate and in the
proportion of men aged between 45 and 59 killing themselves have been reported
by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Male suicides are now at their highest rate for nearly a decade, although they
are still proportionally fewer than they were 30 years ago. The rate among men
aged 45-59, which has gone up sharply in recent years, is at its worst since
In Wales, the overall suicide rate for men and women rose by 30% between 2009
The Department of Health in England last year identified middle-aged men as
being at high risk of killing themselves, in its suicide prevention strategy,
while a report for the Samaritans suggested men from low socioeconomic
backgrounds living in deprived areas were 10 times more likely to die by suicide
than were men from high socioeconomic backgrounds living in the most affluent
Norman Lamb, the care services minister, said the figures caused very real
concern, and they needed to be tackled "head on".
In all, 6,045 suicides were recorded among people aged 15 and over in 2011, the
ONS said. That is up 437, or 8%, on the previous year, the rise being the same
in percentage terms for men and women. The UK suicide rate is now 11.8 deaths
per 100,000 people, up from 11.1 in 2010, and the highest since 2004.
The number of male suicides increased to 4,552, which at a rate of 18.2 per
100,000 was the highest level since 2002. The worst suicide rate remains among
men aged 30 to 44, at 23.5 per 100,000; for 45 to 59-year-old men, the figure
now stands at 22.2 per 100,000.
Female suicides rose to 1,493, a rate of 5.6 per 100,000. Although suicide among
15- to 29-year-old females is rare, the rate in this age group has also risen
significantly, from 2.9 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.2 per 100,000 in the latest
statistics. Big gender differences have been recorded for a generation.
The ONS accepts that some of the increases could be down to changes in
statistical recording. Coroners in England and Wales are now giving more
"narrative" verdicts, where causes of death are difficult to identify. The ONS
advised them to describe the circumstances of deaths in a way that could make
clearer the intentions of those who died: for example, whether there was
deliberate self-harm rather than an accident.
In England, the overall suicide rate is 10.4 deaths per 100,000, with the rate
highest in the north-east, at 12.9, and lowest in London, at 8.9. In Wales, the
suicide rate has leaped up sharply, from 10.7 in 2009 to 13.9 in 2011.
Changes in death registration rules and the way in which deaths are recorded in
Scotland appear to have had a more dramatic effect on figures there, making
statisticians cautious about comparing previous figures. In 2011, there were 889
suicides under the new rules and 772 under the old ones. But the General
Register Office for Scotland says the "moving average" over recent years has
consistently been "around 800 or so".
In Northern Ireland, there were 289 suicides in 2011, 216 men and 73 women. That
figure is down from the 313 (240 men, 73 women) the previous year.
Suicide numbers rise sharply, especially
among middle-aged men, G, 22.1.2013,
Divorce total lowest for 29 years
Thursday August 30, 2007
David Batty and agencies
The number of divorces in England and Wales has fallen to a 29-year low,
government figures showed today.
Last year 132,562 couples got divorced - the lowest since 1977 when there were
129,053 divorces, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This was the third year in succession that the number of divorces fell, with a
fall of 6.5% between 2005 and 2006.
The divorce rate also fell to its lowest level for 22 years to 12.2 for every
thousand married men and women. The rate fell by 7% between 2005 and 2006.
The highest divorce rate was found among people in their late 20s, with 26
divorces per thousand married men aged 25-29 and 27.3 per thousand women in the
same age group.
But the average age of people divorcing was higher - 40.9 for women and 43.4 for
The number of second-time divorcees has also doubled in last 25 years. Last year
a fifth of divorcees had already had a previous marriage dissolved, compared to
just over a tenth in 1981.
The average duration of failed marriages remained unchanged from the previous
year at 11.6 years.
But the sharp fall in the number of divorces in England and Wales last year was
offset by rising numbers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Across the UK, the number of divorces fell by 4.5% to 148,141 in 2006 from
155,052 in 2005.
The number of divorces in Scotland rose by nearly 20% from 10,940 in 2005 to
13,014 last year.
The ONS said the sharp rise could be due to the reduction in the period of time
couples are required to be separated prior to obtaining a divorce, which came
into effect in May 2006.
Under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, couples who mutually agree to divorce
can do so after just one year apart instead of two. Contested cases can now go
ahead after two years, rather than five.
In Northern Ireland the number of divorces rose by 8.6% to 2,565 last year -
compared to 2,362 in 2005.
Divorce total lowest for
29 years, G, 30.8.2007,
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