South Korea’s suicide rate is the highest among nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development, according to recent OECD data.
Data culled by Statistics Korea showed that more than 15,000 Koreans committed suicide in 2010, which is a 50 percent increase from 2006. This means there have been 33.5 suicides per 100,000 people, which make South Korea’s suicide rate the highest in the OECD for the eighth year running.
“There’s an increase of elderly population and single households,” a Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare official told the Munhwa Ilbo. “When you add that to Korea’s socioeconomic issues, it explains the reason behind the increase of suicide rate.”
Hungary followed with 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people, but its figures are more than ten percent less than Korea’s. Japan and Slovenia followed with 21.2 and 18.6 suicides per 100,000 people, respectively.
The increase of suicides in Korea is alarming as the data shows that the suicide rate of OECD nations overall has decreased since 2005. While OECD nations’ suicide rate has dropped – from 21.6 to 20.7 people among men and 6.2 to 5.8 people among women – Korea’s rate has increased from 45.9 to 49.6 people among men and 18.6 to 21.4 people among women.