Comparative study of regional features of suicide and homicide expansion in modern world

Abstract: This article covers regional features of expansion of the least latent types of social deviations – suicides and homicides in years 2010-2012. Comparative analyses of absolute and relative characteristics of homicides and murders in micro- and large regions of the world is conducted on the basis of map charts performed by the author. Special attention is paid to the situation at the Baltic subregion.

Keywords: negative deviations, geography of homicide, geography of suicide, areas, world regions.

In the beginning of the 2010-s World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted a unique research in the area of wrongful death (primarily, homicides and suicides). The fundamental distinction of these researches from the preceding ones and their main achievements have to do with consistency of methodological approach with an allowance of homicide/suicide data for the vast majority of the countries of the world that for the first time ever has allowed to conduct a full-scale trans regional and cross-country analyses of the expansion of the specific types of social deviations in the world.

According to WHO and UNODC, in the beginning of the 2010-s over 460,000 homicides and almost twice as much – appr. 800,000 – suicides take place annually. Therefore, annually for 100,000 citizens of the world fall 6-7 acts of homicide and 10-11 acts of suicide on the average.

“Geographic picture” of the expansion of these types of deviation is characterized by a complex mosaic structure (Pic.1, 2). When considering regional geography of homicides, a triad of countries is marked out – Latin America, Africa and Asia – that accumulate 90% of all homicides total. However, “homicide concentration” (as for 100,000 citizens) in these regions varies significantly – from maximum rates in Latin America (mortality level caused by wrongful deaths is three times higher than global) to minimum rates in Asia (the corresponding indicator is two – three times lower than worldwide average). Intraregional structure of deaths caused by homicides is also profoundly non uniform. One may talk of a shaping of specific country areas (zones) characterized by higher or lower levels of homicides which outlines, in some cases, do not correspond with the traditional country ranking by world regions. For example, the countries of Western, Central and Eastern Europe form an area with a low level of wrongful death expansion. North of it, spreads out an area with average \ higher than average wrongful death level that is comprised of the former Soviet Union countries (the Baltics, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Russia, Central Asia countries).

The distinctive feature of regional suicide expansion is unipolarity – two thirds of all suicides fall for Asia. Translating in terms of per capita basis, the picture is changing – regardless the fact that regional suicide levels demonstrate extremely low fluctuations with regard to worldwide average rate (+/– 10-20%), almost every large region of world has its own “suicide highs and lows” (Pic.2). Thus, the suicide maximum for Western Europe is connected with the Baltics (primarily, Lithuania) which as with the same group of countries as the case may be with homicide level form a high suicide rate area.

Generally, high homicide rates areas do not coincide with high suicide rates areas. The conducted correlation between homicide and suicide data shows the absence of interconnection of these types of deviations.


  1. Gilinsky Ya. Deviantology: Sociology of Crime, Narcotism, Prostitution, Suicide, and Other “Deviations”. – St.Petersburg: “Yuridichesky Center Press”, 2004. – 520 p.
  2. Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Contexts, Data. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Vienna. 2011.
  3. Global Study on Homicide 2013 : Trends, Contexts, Data.  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Vienna. 2013.
  4. World Development Report 2013, Washington, DC. 2012.
  5. Preventing suicide: a global imperative. World Health Organization. Geneva. 2014.

Elena E. Demidova (Chirkova)