Thursday, December 3, 2015

Most Populous Countries Ranked by Suicide and Homicide Rates

"Is it hard for the reader to believe that suicides are sometimes committed to forestall the committing of murder? There is no doubt of it. Nor is there any doubt that murder is sometimes committed to avert suicide." -- Karl Menninger






Here are the Top 20 countries by population. Together, they account for over 5.1 billion people, almost 75% of the global total.



Rank Country Population
1 China 1,373,250,000
2 India 1,280,230,000
3USA322,257,000
4 Indonesia 255,461,700
5 Brazil 205,209,000
6 Pakistan 188,925,000
7 Nigeria 182,202,000
8 Bangladesh 159,387,000
9 Russia 146,439,880
10 Japan 126,890,000
11 Mexico 121,005,000
12 Philippines 102,370,400
13 Vietnam 90,730,000
14 Ethiopia 90,076,012
15 Egypt 89,873,500
16 Germany 81,197,500
17 Iran 78,795,800
18 Turkey 77,695,904
19 Democratic Republic of Congo 77,267,000
20 France 67,107,000


Here are the Top 20 countries by homicide rate. You can see some extreme variance in this data, with some countries (e.g., Brazil, Mexico) being highly homicidal and others (e.g., Germany, Japan) not nearly so much. It's useful to restrict tables like this to only the most populous countries because when you are examining low base rate behaviors (e.g., murder, which doesn't happen that often), small variations can make a big impact on population rates, particularly in small countries: one mass murder in Belgium can send their homicide rate soaring. It also allows you to avoid comparing, for example, homicide rates in the USA and Finland. How is that an apples-to-apples comparison? Finland has 5 million people; the USA has 322 million. More people live in Wisconsin, the 20th largest US state, than in Finland.



Rank Country Homicide Rate
1 Democratic Republic of Congo 28.3
2 Brazil 25.2
3 Mexico 21.5
4 Nigeria 20.0
5 Ethiopia 12.0
6 Russia 9.0
7 Philippines 8.8
8 Pakistan 7.7
9 Iran 3.9
10USA3.8
11 India 3.5
12 Egypt 3.4
13 Vietnam 3.3
14 Bangladesh 2.7
15 Turkey 2.6
16 China 1.0
17 France 1.0
18 Germany 0.8
19 Indonesia 0.6
20 Japan 0.3




Here are the Top 20 countries by suicide rate. At the low end, we may be seeing the protective effects of traditionally Muslim and Roman Catholic cultures. It is interesting to me that the United States is more a suicidal than a homicidal country. That's not our image, certainly. But we are more likely to use our firearms against ourselves than against anyone else.



Rank Country Suicide Rate
1 India 21.1
2 Russia 19.5
3 Japan 18.5
4 France 12.3
5USA12.1
6 Ethiopia 11.5
7 Democratic Republic of Congo 10.1
8 Pakistan 9.3
9 Germany 9.2
10 Turkey 7.9
11 Bangladesh 7.8
12 China 7.8
13 Nigeria 6.5
14 Brazil 5.8
15 Iran 5.2
16 Vietnam 5.0
17 Indonesia 4.3
18 Mexico 4.2
19 Philippines 2.9
20 Egypt 1.7


Here are the Top 20 countries by combined homicide-suicide rate. It's interesting to think of this combined rate as an index of a country's general pathology -- how sick the culture is. It's refreshing to see the USA end up "average" -- nearly as healthy as France, and a step up from Japan.



Rank Country Combined
1 Democratic Republic of Congo 38.4
2 Brazil 31.0
3 Russia 28.5
4 Nigeria 26.5
5 Mexico 25.7
6 India 24.6
7 Ethiopia 23.5
8 Japan 18.8
9 Pakistan 17.0
10USA15.9
11 France 13.3
12 Philippines 11.7
13 Turkey 10.5
14 Bangladesh 10.5
15 Germany 10.0
16 Iran 9.1
17 China 8.8
18 Vietnam 8.3
19 Egypt 5.1
20 Indonesia 4.9


Here is a scatter-plot of these 20 most populous countries' suicide and homicide rates. That trend line indicates a correlation of -.17 between a country's suicide rate and its homicide rate. The more suicides in your country, the fewer homicides, and vice versa. You might have thought that those two variables were positively correlated, but they're not. Seems like Dr. Karl was right. (It makes you wonder about the potential unforeseen effects of, say, the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention efforts: If they succeed in reducing suicides, might they increase homicides? That's an empirical question, and one worth considering.)
















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