Characteristics of suicide among farmers and ranchers: Using the CDC NVDRS 2003–2018

Cristina D.M. Miller, Josie M. Rudolphi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Suicide is among the top 10 causes of premature death in the United States. This study provides details on farmer and rancher suicide decedents, including demographic information, mental health status, history of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and circumstances associated with death. Methods: Data for this study were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System Restricted Access Database for the years 2003–2018. Descriptive statistics and adjusted odds ratios are presented for farm and nonfarm populations in addition to farm populations by age groups and sex. Results: This study found that almost half of the farmer suicide decedents were over 65 years old. Firearms were the most widely used method for farmers and ranchers regardless of age and sex. Young farmers and ranchers that died by suicide were more likely to have had relationship problems and older farmers and ranchers that died by suicides were more likely to have had a physical health problem. Male farmer and rancher suicide decedents were more likely to die by firearm than females, and female farmer and rancher suicide decedents were likely to have resided in a small metropolitan area, however, due to small numbers and suppression in the data, most sex comparisons were not able to be presented. Conclusions: While no clear risk factor for suicide among farmers and ranchers emerged, results underscore the complex nature of suicide and the need for multifaceted, culturally competent interventions and campaigns that address suicide risk and prevention at the individual and community levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-689
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • depression
  • farmer
  • farmer suicide
  • physical health problems
  • rancher
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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