September 24, 2014 09:30
An average of 40 people committed suicide every day in 2013. According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, 14,427 people, or 39.5 on daily average killed themselves last year, up 267 on-year.
The number of suicides for every 100,000 people remained a whopping 28.5, up 0.4 on-year. The rate peaked at 31.7 in 2011 and dropped to 28.1 in 2012 but increased again last year.
Suicide was the leading cause of death among people in their teens, 20s and 30s last year. The suicide rate among men was 39.8, 2.3 times as high as the 17.3 among women.
Korea's suicide rate is the highest in the OECD, with an age-standardized suicide rate of 29.1 per 100,000 among 34 member states as of 2012. Next came Hungary with 22 and Japan with 20.9. The figure is smaller than 20 in the 31 other countries. Korea's suicide rate was 17 times as high as last-ranked Turkey's 1.7. A total of 266,257 Koreans died in 2013, down 964 from 2012.
"The number of deaths fell slightly compared to 2012, when severe cold weather killed many elderly and feeble people," a Statistics Korea spokesman said. "But the number of deaths per 100,000 has increased steadily as the proportion of the elderly population rises."
Cancer was the leading overall cause of death at 28.1 percent, followed by cerebrovascular diseases with 9.6 percent, cardiac diseases with 9.5 percent, suicide with 5.4 percent and diabetes with 4.1 percent.
Statistic Korea said deaths from cancer are increasing but those from chronic diseases like diabetes and cerebrovascular and liver diseases, which need long-term care, are dwindling.
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