suicide; in 1999, males committed 14,479 (87 percent) of firearm-related suicides. Whites are at higher risk of suicide than blacks, but the suicide rate for young black males has been rising and by 1999 was nearly the same as the suicide rate for young white males. Figure 3-6 shows the number and rate of firearm-related suicides per 100,000 by five-year age groupings for 1999. As the figure shows, more firearm-related suicides were committed by those 35 to 39 years old than any other five-year age grouping, although those 80 to 84 years old committed suicide at the highest rate, 13.7 per 100,000.
The total suicide rate has remained relatively constant in the United States, but the proportion of suicides committed with a firearm increased steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s before beginning a moderate decline. The age distribution of suicides over this period also changed, with a rise in suicide among the young and the old and a small decline among working-age adults. Figure 3-7 shows trends in the suicide rate