BACKGROUND: Studies of suicide in first-generation immigrants have consistently shown higher rates compared to their country of origin. Little is known about the risk of suicide in second-generation immigrants and intercountry adoptees. The aim of this study was to investigate rates of suicide death in second-generation immigrants and intercountry adoptees in comparison with their parental generation and the majority population. METHOD: The study was based on multivariate analyses of register data on suicide death during 1990-98 in a Swedish national cohort of 2.7 million residents (10-68 years). RESULTS: Second-generation immigrants tended to have higher odds than the first-generation immigrants compared to the majority population in all six minority groups studied. The Finnish minority had the highest and the Middle Easterners the lowest odds for suicide death in both generations of immigrants. The intercountry adoptees had very high odds for suicide death (adjusted OR: 5.0; 95 % CI 3.5-7.0). CONCLUSIONS: Second-generation immigrants are at greater risk for suicide death than their parental generation. Intercountry adoptees should be of particular concern in suicide prevention.