Editor’s note: This podcast from Ray Suarez is a companion to his story: “In Metro Atlanta, Two Communities — One White, One Black — Differently Grapple with Deaths of Despair.”
There are two strong contributors to early death in Georgia, and in America as a whole: firearms, and substance abuse. Georgia is not even close to the top of the state tables for Deaths of Despair, overall. It’s somewhere around the middle for household income among the 50 states. But when you look at who dies early in Georgia, there are some aspects of Deaths of Despair that stand out. Instead of one big peak in late middle age, there are two peaks, among young adults and another in late middle age.
Like most places in America, men in Georgia are more likely to end their own lives than women, but in Georgia, the difference is more than three to one. Look closer, however, and another sharp difference emerges. Home to one of the largest Black populations of any state, Georgia’s suicide ranking falls because Black people, particularly Black men, kill themselves so much less frequently than white men.
Listen to Ray Suarez’s 26-minute podcast here.
Ray Suarez is co-host of the public radio program and podcast World Affairs, and covers Washington for Euronews. He is the author of three books on American life, most recently Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation.