California

  • Suicides make up 52% of all firearm deaths in California.
  • More than one-third of all suicides in California are by firearm.
  • In 2018, there were 1,629 firearm suicide deaths in California, including 54 children and teens (0-19).
  • California’s firearm suicide rate is lower than most states’ — in 2018, California had the 7th lowest firearm suicide rate in the country.

Data

The firearm suicide rate in California has remained mostly steady over the last decade (2009-2018) and continues to be lower than the United States’ rate.

 

Firearm Deaths in California
2009-2018

Number of deaths

Suicide
Homicide
Other

The “other” category is defined as any firearm death that is not defined by the CDC as a homicide or a suicide. This could include unintentional, undetermined, and legal intervention. To obtain the number of deaths in the “other” category, the total number of firearm suicide deaths and firearm homicide deaths were subtracted from the overall firearm deaths in a given year.

Firearm Suicide Rates in California and the United States
2009-2018

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000

California
United States
 

Demographics

The majority of suicide decedents are males. In California, White (non Latino) males in particular are disproportionately impacted by firearm suicide. Black males have the second highest firearm suicide rate in the state.

Firearm Suicide Deaths in California by Sex
2014-2018

Female
Male
 

Firearm Suicide Rates in California by Sex, Race, and Ethnicity
2014-2018

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000

Male
Female

The CDC considers firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 20 deaths “statistically unreliable” and suppresses firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 10 deaths. Fewer than 20 firearm suicides were reported during this time period for the following races and Hispanic Origin category and therefore are omitted from the above chart: American Indian/ Alaska Native females and Black females.

 

County Variations

Firearm Suicide Rates by County
2009-2018

Age-Adjusted Firearm Suicide Rate per 100,000

  • 1.74 to 6.34
  • 6.35 to 10.95
  • 10.96 to 15.56
  • 15.57 to 19.96
  • Suppressed /
    Unreliable

The CDC suppresses data in which fewer than 10 deaths are reported in a given time frame and considers firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 20 deaths “statistically unreliable.” Counties that meet this criteria are labeled “Suppressed/Unreliable.”

 

Notes:

  • The most recently available CDC data is 2018; as such, 2018 data is used where appropriate.
  • Unless otherwise specified, statistics reflect 5-year averages (2014-2018).
  • All rates listed are age-adjusted in order to allow for accurate comparisons between populations with differing age distributions.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Suicide Deaths and Rates per 100,000. WONDER Online Database, 1999-2018. Available: http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html.