Kentucky

  • Suicides make up 68% of all firearm deaths in Kentucky.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all suicides in Kentucky are by firearm.
  • In 2018, there were 509 firearm suicide deaths in Kentucky, including 28 children and teens (ages 0-19).
  • Kentucky’s firearm suicide rate is higher than most states’ — in 2018, Kentucky had the 13th highest firearm suicide rate in the country.

Data

The firearm suicide rate in Kentucky increased 19% over the last decade (2009-2018) and in 2018, 509 Kentuckians died by firearm suicide – the first time annual firearm suicide deaths ever exceeded 500. In 2018, the firearm suicide rate in Kentucky was 1.5 times the United States’ rate.

Firearm Deaths in Kentucky
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 Kentucky and the United States
2009-2018

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000

Kentucky
United States
 

Demographics

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

Firearm Suicide Deaths in Kentucky by Sex
2014-2018

Male
Female

Firearm Suicide Rates in Kentucky 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 males, Asian/ Pacific Islander females and males, Black females, and Hispanic/Latina females.

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.