New research by George Patton of the University of Melbourne reveals the differences in youth mortality (ages 10-24) among developed nations. The USA has the highest rates of youth mortality, due to the highest rates of death by violence and traffic accidents. Interestingly, youth suicide rates appear to be lowest in the warmer countries such as Singapore and around the Mediterranean, and highest in colder countries such as Scandinavia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
I was surprised to find New Zealand having the highest rate of youth suicide. I would have expected the rate to be similar to Australia’s, since the laws, institutions and culture appear to be quite similar, but in fact the rate is more than double. The rate of death by traffic accidents is also much higher in New Zealand, suggesting that there is in fact a large gulf between the youth cultures of the two countries.
The research was published in The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9826, Pages 1665 – 1675, 28 April 2012