What's Behind This Totally Nonexistent Epidemic Of Banker Suicides?

The New York Post is doubling down on a truly grim tabloid story: “What’s behind epidemic of financial industry deaths?” This is a follow-up on last week’s… identical story, which was a follow-up to two previous stories, all by the same author, in which “a rash of eight financial-industry suicides so far in 2014” have “baffled” mental health professionals.

But back in the real world, actually the rate of suicide in people “35–64 years increased 28.4%” from 1999 to 2010, according to the CDC. The suicide rate among whites in America increased 40% in that period. In New York City, there are approximately 475 suicides a year.

About 5% of jobs in New York City are in finance; Let’s say there’s about 400,000 people employed in finance in New York City. (There were about 500,000 of those jobs in 2000 and 425,000 in 2010.)

Statistically speaking, there should be 23.75 suicides a year in the finance industry in New York City alone. Six suicides in the first quarter of the year would be “right on track” (I know, gross, sorry) for 24 suicides in 2014.

Except then when you read the story, two of these suicides were in London, one was in Singapore (that was Autumn Radtke), one was in Hong Kong, one was in Washington state, one was in Stamford, one was in Syosset, and then only one was in Manhattan.

So, great news! New York City’s finance professionals are vastly under-killing themselves, compared to the population at large. Put that on your tabloid.

Relatedly! The Post is banging the drum on the even-more horrifying student suicide epidemic. Unfortunately*, with 10 schoolchild suicides so far in 2014, that number is also below par for recent averages. With 66 suicides last year, there should have been at least 16 suicides by the end of March to meet or exceed 2012’s terrible and upsetting count. (*YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN by “unfortunately.”)