Suicide Statistics

16 Nov 2023

Scientific American, Volume XXXVI., No. 8, February 24, 1877 by Various, is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. Suicide Statistics.

Suicide Statistics.

A curious and suggestive table of statistics has recently appeared in France, which will doubtless prove of much value in the hands of students of psychology and nervous mental ailments. It relates to suicides; and the conditions, etc., of the people who made away with themselves in 1874 in France are taken as the basis of the figures. In that year, 5,617 suicides occurred, the largest number ever known in any one year in the country. Of these, 4,435, or 79 per cent., were committed by men, 1,182, or 21 per cent., by women. In spite of the careful investigations of the police, the ages of 105 people could be determined. The 5,512 others are divided as follows: 16 years, 29; between 16 and 21 years, 193; between 21 and 40 years, 1,477; between 40 and 60 years, 2,214; exceeding the last mentioned age, 1,599. About 36 per cent. of these unfortunates were unmarried, 48 per cent. married, and 16 per cent. widowers. Of those which constituted the last two classes, nearly two thirds had children. More than seven tenths of the suicides were effected by strangulation or drowning. The crime was most frequently committed during spring, when 31 per cent. of the whole number destroyed themselves; during other seasons the percentages were: in summer, 27; in winter, 23; in autumn, 19.

Included in the tables are the results of the judicial inquests, showing the professions and callings of the deceased. About 33 per cent. were farmers, 30 per cent. mechanics, 4 per cent. merchants or business men, 16 per cent. members of the liberal professions, 4 per cent. servants, and 13 percent. were destitute of any calling. The table even analyzes, in all but 481 people, the motives which caused the fatal act. Thus we are told that 652 killed themselves because of reverses in fortune, 701 through family troubles, 572 through drunkenness, 243 through love, debauchery, etc.; 798 died to avoid physical suffering, 59 to avoid the penalties of capital crimes, 489 for unclassified troubles, and 1,622 were clearly shown to have been afflicted with some mental disease.

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This book is part of the public domain. Various (2006). Scientific American, Volume XXXVI., No. 8, February 24, 1877. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved

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