The Role of Demographic Changes in the Decline of Suicide in Sweden
Julianne Ohlander, Pennsylvania State University
The rate of suicide in Sweden, once dubiously known as the highest in the world, has been declining for more than 25 years. In the last two decades, mortality due to suicide has declined by nearly 40 percent. This paper evaluates a range of demographic factors that may play a role in the decline of suicide in Sweden. The analysis is a time series regression of aggregate-level data from various branches of the central bureau for statistics in Sweden from 1969-1996. Demographic changes in the Swedish population that may be driving some of the decline in the suicide rate include: changing age and sex composition; changing cohort rates of suicide; increased morbidity, particularly amongst the retirement-age population; changes in mortality, particularly changes in the rates of deaths due to self-destructive behaviors; changes in immigration, including the demographic composition of the immigrants; and changes in fertility and household composition.