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Suicides up among U.S. soldiers

  • Story Highlights
  • In 2006, 101 soldiers committed suicide, up from 88 in 2005, report says
  • 101 includes two deaths in which there has not been a final ruling
  • Failed relationships, legal and financial problems leading reasons
  • In 2003, there were 79 suicides
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The number of soldiers who committed suicide increased 15 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to an Army report.

The Army plans to release the data publicly on Thursday, CNN learned from Army officials. The numbers have not previously been released, despite repeated CNN requests for data covering the past seven months.

In 2006, 101 soldiers committed suicide, up from 88 in 2005, according to Army statistics. That amounts to 17.3 per 100,000 soldiers in 2006 and 12.8 per 100,000 the previous year.

The Army uses the statistical analysis to account for shifts in its overall size from year to year. The 2006 figure of 101 includes two deaths in which there has not been a final ruling, but officials said they are likely to be ruled suicides.

The Army has concluded the "main indicators" for the 2006 suicides were failed relationships, legal and financial problems and "occupational/operational" issues. The "typical profile" of a soldier who commits suicide is a member of an infantry unit who kills himself with a firearm.

As of June 30, 2007, 44 soldiers had committed suicide, statistics showed. Of those, 17 were deployed away from their home base.

In other years, the report showed:

-- 2006: 101 suicides, 30 deployed (17.3 per 100,000)

-- 2005: 88 suicides, 25 deployed (12.8 per 100,000)

-- 2004: 67 suicides, 13 deployed (10.8 per 100,000)

-- 2003: 79 suicides, 26 deployed (12.4 per 100,000)

It is difficult to compare the military suicide rate to that of the private sector because of demographic differences and overall human stress factors, officials say.


In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.

And it was 5.46 per 100,000 for all women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this story

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