Increase in suicides associated with home eviction and foreclosure during the US housing crisis: findings from 16 National Violent Death Reporting System States, 2005-2010

Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb;105(2):311-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301945.


Objectives: We aimed to determine the frequency, characteristics, and precipitating circumstances of eviction- and foreclosure-related suicides during the US housing crisis, which resulted in historically high foreclosures and increased evictions beginning in 2006.

Methods: We examined all eviction- and foreclosure-related suicides in the years 2005 to 2010 in 16 states in the National Violent Death Reporting System, a surveillance system for all violent deaths within participating states that abstracts information across multiple investigative sources (e.g., law enforcement, coroners, medical examiners).

Results: We identified 929 eviction- or foreclosure-related suicides. Eviction- and foreclosure-related suicides doubled from 2005 to 2010 (n=88 in 2005; n=176 in 2010), mostly because of foreclosure-related suicides, which increased 253% from 2005 (n=30) to 2010 (n=106). Most suicides occurred before the actual housing loss (79%), and 37% of decedents experienced acute eviction or foreclosure crises within 2 weeks of the suicide.

Conclusions: Housing loss is a significant crisis that can precipitate suicide. Prevention strategies include support for those projected to lose homes, intervention before move-out date, training financial professionals to recognize warning signs, and strengthening population-wide suicide prevention measures during economic crises.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Economic Recession / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Housing / economics
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult