Insights into rates, risks and characteristics of suicide by immigration background in Norway


  • Quirino Puzo
  • Lars Mehlum
  • Ping Qin



Although most immigrants seem to successfully manage
the challenges their immigration process entails, suicide
mortality of minority groups has become an important
public concern, particularly in countries with growing
segments of immigrant populations such as Norway. The
present article aimed to summarize insights into suicide
among various immigrant populations, obtained by
three Norwegian studies we recently conducted utilizing
the unique possibilities of national population registers.
First-generation immigrants had a relatively lower risk
of suicide than native Norwegians, whereas the risks for
people with mixed Norwegian and immigrant background
were significantly higher. Suicide risk was associated with a
range of socio-economic disadvantages in all populations,
but the strength of the association differed by specific immigration
background, with a generally weaker association in
first-generation-immigrants than natives. In the meantime,
there were notable differences in characteristics of suicide
by immigration background with respect to method of
suicide, month of the year when suicide occurred, and time
to suicide since immigration. All these insights underscore
the importance of treating immigrants as a very heterogeneous
group, and differences in suicides by specific
immigration background should be considered when
planning public health policies and prevention measures
in order to more effectively tailor these measures to at-risk
immigrant populations.


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