This article compares suicide in the immigrant and Canadian-born populations.
The suicide data are from the Canadian Vital Statistics Data Base and the World Health Statistics Annual of the World Health Organization. The socio-demographic information used to determine denominators for suicide rates in Canada comes from the Census of Population.
Age-standardized suicide rates by sex and place of residence were calculated for the immigrant and Canadian-born populations, as were age- and sex-specific suicide rates. Three-year average rates, centred on census years 1991 and 1996, were used. A weighted data set based on 8 of the top 10 countries of birth for immigrants to Canada was created for international comparisons. Differences between rates were tested for statistical significance.
Suicide rates for the immigrant population were about half those for the Canadian-born. Among immigrants, suicide rates increase with age; among the Canadian-born, suicide is a "younger" phenomenon. Although male suicide rates exceeded female rates in both populations, the difference was less pronounced among immigrants. The pattern of suicide among immigrants was more like that in their countries of origin than that of the Canadian-born population. Immigrants living in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver had lower suicide rates than immigrants in other parts of Canada.