World Congress of Sociology edition:17 location:Goteborg (Sverige) date:11-17 July 2010
In this article, we conduct an ecological study of age-standardized suicide rates in Belgian communities during the 1996-2005 period using spatial regression techniques. The theoretical assumption that community characteristics are significantly related to suicide rates was supported by the data. A significant positive relation with the proportion of single households and the presence of an ageing population in the community was found, while average income level, immigration and a larger share of non-European foreigners had a negative impact on suicide rates. There was a nonlinear relation between population density and male suicide rates. Religious participation was not significantly related to suicide rates at all. A moderate spatial contagion effect of neighboring communities is present for male suicide rates. In the conclusion we present some hypotheses on why an ageing population could be associated with higher suicide rates in the community.