A Demographic Evaluation of Increasing Rates of Suicide Mortality in Japan and South Korea, 1985-2010

Sun Y. Jeon, Utah State University
Eric N. Reither, Utah State University

Rates of suicide mortality have declined substantially over the past 25 years in most OECD countries. Unfortunately, since 1985 suicide rates have increased by 20% in Japan and by 250% in South Korea. Suicide mortality has increased at an especially rapid pace in South Korea since 2000. To help disentangle the effects of age-related factors, secular change, and birth cohort membership, we estimated a series of intrinsic estimator age-period-cohort models of suicide mortality rates in Japan and South Korea between 1985 and 2010. Results indicate that age-related factors explain much of the increase in Japan, where a large segment of the population has moved into a high-risk age range of 40-65. In South Korea, the increase is driven by multiple factors – including rising period effects, a growing elderly population, and strong cohort effects for those born between the Great Depression and the aftermath of World War II.

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Presented in Poster Session 9