​FOI Reference: FOI/2022/3920

You asked

Please supply the following information:

  1.     The number of suicides for each year from 2012 to 2022.

  2.     The number of suicides of each local authority for each year in Wales between 2012 to 2022.

  3.     The age breakdown of suicides per local authority in Wales in 2021.

  4.     The gender of suicides by local authority in Wales for each year from 2012 to 2022.

  5.     The number of farmer suicides in Wales for each year from 2012 to 2022.

  6.     The gender of farmer suicides in Wales for each year from 2012 to 2022.

We said

​Thank you for your request.

Suicides 2012 to 2020

Our statistics are based on the date of registration, therefore our latest annual Suicides in England and Wales release is based on 2020 death registrations.

In the previous versions tab, you will find annual data for 2019 to 2012.

Suicides by local authority

We hold the following analysis Suicides in England and Wales by local authority - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk) which provides suicides by local authority from 2001 to 2020.

We are unable to provide the age or sex breakdown at this geography due to the small numbers involved. This is consistent with the disclosure control methodology used for deaths and in line with our Policy on protecting confidentiality in tables of birth and death statisticsSection 39 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (SRSA) renders it an offence to disclose information held by the Statistics Board for statistical purposes that would identify an individual or a body corporate. As we are prohibited by law from publishing statistics in which individual businesses or persons can be identified, we find that Section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) applies. Section 44 is an absolute exemption and no consideration of the public interest test needs to be applied.

Suicides by occupation

Occupation is reported at the time of death registration by the informant. Data on occupation is coded using the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC 2010). In all, there are 9 major groups of occupations (for example, skilled trades occupations); 25 sub-major groups (for example, skilled construction and building trades); 90 minor groups (for example, building finishing trades); and more than 350 individual occupations (for example, farmers). The recorded occupation likely reflects the deceased's main lifetime occupation or their occupation at the time of death. The occupation hierarchy tool allows exploration of the hierarchy of the SOC 2010 classification.

  • SOCCode: 5111 Farmers
  • SOCCode: 5112 Horticultural trades
  • SOCCode: 5119 Agricultural and fishing trade (n.e.c)

We hold the following analysis Suicides by occupation - Wales .

Suicides involving the farming occupation disaggregated by sex can be found in table 4, row 219.

Please note that the numbers detailed here cannot be used to ascertain the risk of suicide among occupations. Differences in numbers of deaths may merely reflect the underlying population structure as opposed to differences in risk.

In 2019 we published an article looking at suicide in Wales which included analysis of deaths from suicide in different occupation groups for people aged 20-64 (typical working age), based on deaths registered in Wales between 2011 and 2015: Suicide in Wales since 1981_2019

Alongside the article we released reference tables with the underlying data for each occupation: Suicide by occupation - Wales

For more information, particularly the limitations of such analysis, please see section 9 of the Suicide by occupation, England: 2011 to 2015 report.

If the above publications do not meet your needs, we can create a custom output for suicide registrations in England and Wales using your specific date range, however, please see below reference to 2021 and 2022 data and note the limitations on a bespoke output. A bespoke tabulation can provide you with confirmed final data for period 2012-2020. Special extracts and tabulations of mortality data for England and Wales are available to order (subject to legal frameworks, disclosure control, resources and agreements of costs, where appropriate).

Such enquiries would fall outside of the Freedom of Information regime and should be made to: Health.Data@ons.gov.uk.

Suicides 2021

The majority of suicides require an inquest, where a coroner investigates the death. The amount of time it takes to hold an inquest causes a lag between the date of death and the date of death registration, referred to as a registration delay. Registration delays for deaths caused by suicide tend to be 5 to 6 months on average.

We do produce provisional headline suicide data for England on a quarterly basis, with the latest update including deaths that have been registered from July to September of 2021. This is for deaths registered in 2021, and due to the registration delay described above, most of these deaths would have occurred in 2020.

Provisional Quarterly 4 for 2021 data will be published in April 2022.

Suicides by occupation for 2021 will be released after the publication of Suicides in England and Wales in September/October 2022.

As such, this information is considered exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. Furthermore, as a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration, and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test.

We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest.  This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.

2022 Suicide data

Analysis of deaths by suicide in 2022 is not currently held and will not be made available until late 2023 due to registration delays.

If you would like to discuss your enquiry further, please contact Health.Data@ons.gov.uk.