Inequalities in Death by Suicide in Canada - Infographic

Pan-Canadian Health Inequalities Reporting Initiative

In Canada, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15 to 34.

Factors associated with suicide include:

  • trauma
  • exposure to violence
  • substance use and addiction
  • inadequate community connectedness

The lower the income and education, the higher the death by suicide. Some population groups experience greater inequalities in deaths by suicide.

Death by suicide is:

  • 2.7X higher for people who experience high social isolation and material deprivation*
  • 3.3X higher for males than females, and highest among males aged 35-49

Indigenous peoples are at greater risk of suicide:

  • Inuit 6.5X higher
  • First Nations 3.7X higher
  • Métis 2.7X higher

than non-Indigenous people

Inequities experienced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations are anchored in colonial policies and practices that began with Residential Schools, loss of cultural continuity, territories and languages.
Unaddressed intergenerational trauma adds to the ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous peoples.

The higher rates of death by suicide in some groups may be addressed by reducing exposure to risk conditions.


  • reducing income gaps and poverty by making financial, labour and housing markets more inclusive
  • addressing racism and discrimination
  • fostering cultural and community ties

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* Material deprivation is defined by higher % of people with no high school diploma, lower population/employment ratio, and lower average income (among aged 15 years and older). Social deprivation is defined by higher % of individuals living alone, higher % of individuals whose marital status is either separated, divorced, or widowed, and higher % of single-parent families (among aged 15 years and older).
Data Gaps: Canadian Mortality Database does not include information related to ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

Source: Vital Statistics- Canadian Mortality Database (2009-2011).

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis or thinking of suicide, help is available at:

For more data on health inequalities in Canada, visit:

Suggested citation: Public Health Agency of Canada. Key Health Inequalities in Canada: A National Portrait. Ottawa : Public Health Agency of Canada; 2018.

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2018 | Cat.: HP35-106/3-2018E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-26210-9 |
Pub.: 170562

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