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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

This page provides high level suicide information for 2016.

This 2016 data is provisional. In New Zealand, a death is only officially classified as suicide by the coroner on completion of the coroner’s inquiry.  Only those deaths determined as ‘intentionally self-inflicted’ after the inquiry will receive a final verdict of suicide. At the time of data extraction (28 March 2019), there were 26 deaths registered in 2016 that were still subject to coroners’ findings and where the cause of death had not yet been determined. Although these deaths are not included in the following data, some may later be classified as suicide.

Key findings

The rate of suicide is highest amongst males and Māori

In 2016, 553 people died by suicide in New Zealand, which equates to an age-standardised rate of 11.3 per 100,000 (Figure 1). 

There were 412 male suicides and 141 female suicides (17.0 per 100,000 and 5.8 per 100,000 respectively).  For every female suicide there were 2.9 male suicides (Figure 2).

Figure 1.  Number and age-standardised rate of suicide deaths, 2007–2016

Notes: Numbers that are similar across multiple years may produce different rates due to changes in population size.
Rates are expressed per 100,000 population and age standardised to the WHO World Standard Population.
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection.

Figure 2. Age-standardised suicide rates, by sex, 2007–2016

Notes: Rates are expressed per 100,000 population and age standardised to the WHO World Standard Population.
Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection

In 2016, the highest rates of suicide were among youth aged 15–24 years (16.8 per 100,000) and those aged 25–44 years (16.3 per 100,000). The rate for youth suicide in 2016 was similar to the rate in 2015, and among the lowest for this age group in the ten year period, 2007–2016 (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Age-specific suicide rates, by life-stage age group (years), 2007–2016

Note: Rates are expressed per 100,000 population.
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection

In 2016, the rate of suicide among Māori was higher than among non-Māori for both males and females.

Among Māori males the suicide rate was 31.7 per 100,000, the highest rate in the ten year period from 2007. The rate in 2016 for Māori was twice that for non-Māori, for both males and females. (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Age-standardised suicide rates for Māori and non-Māori, by sex, 2007–2016

Notes: Rates are expressed per 100,000 population and age standardised to the WHO World Standard Population.
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection

The rate of suicide has remained relatively stable in the ten year period to 2016

Over the ten year period 2007–2016, the rate of suicide has remained relatively stable year to year.

Overall the rate of suicide has decreased slightly from its peak for this period in 2012 of 12.3 per 100,000 to 11.3 per 100,000 in 2016. 

Similar to the overall rate, the suicide rate for males has generally decreased over this period. Over these ten years, the rate for males has been at least 2.5 times that for females.

Over the last ten years the rate of youth suicide has been variable.  Prior to 2013 the youth rate was predominantly higher than the other life-stage age groups, but more recently, the rates for youth have been similar to those for other life-stage groups less than 65 years.

Over the ten year period the rate of suicide for Māori was consistently higher than the rate for non-Māori, for both males and females. The rate for Māori males increased markedly from 2013 to 2016 (21.2 per 100,000 and 31.7 per 100,000 respectively).

Tables and graphs containing provisional numbers and rates of suicide by age, sex and Māori/non-Māori (2007–2016) can be found in the downloadable file.


Disclaimer

In this edition, data was extracted and recalculated for the years 2007–2016 to reflect ongoing updates to data in the New Zealand Mortality Collection (for example, following the release of coroners’ findings) and the revision of population estimates and projections following each census. For this reason there may be small changes to some numbers and rates from those presented in previous publications and tables.

We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However errors can occur. Contact the Ministry of Health if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here, at data-enquiries@health.govt.nz

MIL OSI