back to article Baby Boomers committing suicide at unprecedented rates

The Baby Boomers - the generation born after the Second World War, who were hippies and flower children in the 1960s and 70s, corporate greedheads in the 1980s, who controlled western civilisation through the 90s and noughties and are now reaching retirement age - are committing suicide in unprecedented numbers. The suicide …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course, substance abuse is the first target

    Have these people not considered that since 2000 the western world has overly oppressive and controlling. Perhaps people realising the futility of living in this age could be a factor also?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Benefit of hindsight

      "Have these people not considered that since 2000 the western world has overly oppressive and controlling."

      Yep, and the present generation is likely to do even less about it than the previous one, I don't see many mass anti war demonstrations or a "ban the bomb" movement anymore, how about the whole anti establishment hippie thing in the sixties?

      When you are young lots of people become "anti establishment", 30 years later they usually are the establishment, look at politicians like Peter Hain and Ken Livingstone to name but 2 (yeah I know they are both Labour but it's easier!) Even Fidel Castro has been reported as saying recently that maybe communism in Cuba had been a mistake.

  2. Paul Berry

    The generation that pulled the ladder up behind them

    Hard to feel sorry for them, even if they do include my parents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Boo Hoo

      Pissed off because you have to make your own way in life?

      Suck it up.

      1. DavCrav

        No, not pissed off because of that

        "Pissed off because you have to make your own way in life?

        Suck it up."

        No. I'm pissed off that I have to make my own way, and pay for their extravagances as well. A country massively in debt, that will be paid by me and my cohort, while the people that screwed it all up live on state pensions that they didn't pay enough towards, while I pay for them and not get a pension myself.

        When my generation gets into power, we'll see how they treat the Boomers, who themselves approached life with a scorched-earth policy.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          If you have credit card debt, or have an overdraft, or bought a house with a 95% mortgage in the last 10 years, or spent taxpayers money, then *you* are the *problem*, not the solution. Do your parents tick the boxes? I suspect not. Grow up. Nobody gives a s**t.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Quite apart from the fact that (AFAIK) no one gets issued with a ticket that says "here is your entitlement to an easy life" at birth, I think you are blaming the wrong people.

          I don't think its the boomer generation that lived on excessive credit over the last 10-15 years. I think you'll find its the younger section of the population that wanted all the latest toys NOW and funded that lifestyle with credit.

          If you are one of those that didn't squander their money on valueless crap you have my sympathy.

          Life isn't fair, it's just life and shit happens.

      2. steward

        Dunno about Brits, but...

        on this side of the big pond, our social philosophy has assumed that the next generation will be better off than the previous one. You know, like ensuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty, that sort of thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "ensuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty"

          Thats a good one coming from the land of aggressive capitalism (not that I've anything against that per se), junk mortgages, healthcare only if you can pay for it, agressive foreign wars, rendition etc.

    2. Gannon (J.) Dick
      Thumb Up

      Out of the mouths of babes, Paul

      You are exactly right, kid. Although I'm having distinctly old-fashioned feelings of pique that I'm old enough to be your parent, if I were I would be proud of you.

  3. blackworx


    "Jammiest generation that ever lived finds life too cruel"

    Couldn't have put it better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apart from the one following it.

      Consider police brutality, homophobia and racism. In the UK anyway, not sure about elsewhere.

  4. Joe K


    ....the increasing rejection of religion, and the fear of going to hell if you check yourself out of this madhouse, could also be a factor.

    1. Daniel Evans


      Suicide == Go straight to hell, do not pass heaven, do not collect halo

      In christian terms, anyway, right?

      1. Keith T

        A large function of religion was to keep slaves from killing themselves

        Religions functioned in part to keep hopelessly oppressed cannon fodder and cheap labour from killing themselves.

        They also functioned to keep wage demands down by promising that wages forgone in this life would be paid in the next.

        Take away that and yes, people will be more pragmatic about suicide.

        1. Nightkiller

          As opposed to what?

          The new religions

          Communism? Fascism? Totalitarianism? Consumerism? PostModermism? Go ahead. Pick a power trip from the list. I dare you.

      2. copsewood

        In Christian terms suicide == the ultimate self centredness

        @Daniel Evans

        If your conceptual world just centres around you and if the rest of your consequently tiny world no longer seems to worship you, then why should someone who thinks and lives this way see any point in continuing ? Christians view suicide quite simply as a rejection of the gift of life - if life is a gift then it must still have good purposes and possibilities whatever bad stuff may happen along the way. Atheists see no gift of life because they can see no giver.

        And as to going straight to hell, what makes you imagine that as you go beyond death you should then become more capable of choosing to have a relationship with a God whom you chose to dislike and reject so completely during your life ? Isn't it probable that as we become more set in our ways we perhaps find it more difficult to think, choose and behave differently ? Did I hear that this was supposedly God's fault for giving you genuinely free will, with all of the consequences of free will, rather than making you a happy robot that follows His program ? Well if that's your excuse, then your understanding of God as someone who 'should have made you into a happy robot' is a lot less creative than how I understand God. Come to think of it I don't think much of a god limited to creating automatons either.

        Is it perhaps conceivable that previous generations which fought through world wars for our freedom were less centred upon themselves, and that their Christian faith had something to do with this ?

        1. Veldan

          just a few things...

          @ copsewood,

          Your argument carries some real flaws. "Christians view suicide quite simply as a rejection of the gift of life" Forgive me for thinking that a group of people who see life as a short span before continuing on to an eternal (usually better) life probably DON'T appreciate it as much as people who believe they have one short and unexplained life to lead.

          It's like the Christians who say "no one will cry when an atheist dies, because they never really lived, etc". When an atheist dies it is more of a loss, they don't see that person continuing on to an eternal heaven, it's when a Christian dies no one should care as they've went to a better place (so they believe).

          I also find the fact you call life a gift a bit of a laugh. From what I've been told of heaven it's a really good place, better than here. Excuse me if i don't find being put outside in the hotbox for 80-100 years a gift when there is a lovely mansion next door with all the ice tea you can drink and joy you could ever handle. I'd think it's more of a punishment, or payment for what's ahead...

          Just saying, you know?

      3. LaeMing

        I was lead to believe

        that suicide destroyed the soul, not sent it automatically to hell. Nice little get-out for people who are sure they are damned.

        Of course it would depend on which re-edit of the texts one was blindly following.

      4. steward

        In the old days, yes, but...

        the RCC, at least, now presumes that anyone who kills him or herself is mentally disordered, and thus cannot go to hell on the basis of the suicide because he or she lacked the ability to make a moral judgment.

  5. Ralph B

    Boom Boom

    > Boomers are bizarre, as Westerners in the 40-59 age bracket (as the Boomers now are)

    > hadn't previously tended to kill themselves a lot.

    Once is usually enough.

  6. Norm DePlume

    Bad news financially?

    Hell no, we'll be saving on pensions and health care.

    1. LaeMing

      Which is why smoking should be encouraged.

      Smokers don't really cost the health system more. They just get all their chronic illnesses and death over before they have had a chance to claim much of a pension.

    2. Expat Paul

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Finally, the boomers are doing something to help reduce the deficit

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    59 is "middle aged" now?!

    So, people are expected to live to over 100 years old nowadays are they?

    Also, as someone who is expecting 70 to be a ripe old age (due to genetics and lifestyle) I feel middle age was hit at around 30.

    1. Rande Knight

      Middle aged at 59.

      "So, people are expected to live to over 100 years old nowadays are they?"

      Yes, according to the annuity calculator I had access to a few years ago, they do in fact believe that a lot of people alive today will live to 120.

    2. Keith T

      Young= 0 to 29, middle aged 30 to 59, elderly 60 and up

      Of course vain people think that middle aged goes on for ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Hang on, you just made that up didn't you?

        I'm 32 and no fecking way am I middle aged. I'm nowhere near "I've peaked and I'm kidding myself" land, nor do I have the urge or the money to start compensating for my dwindling virility because - dammit - it's NOT dwindling!


        Ooh 25 to ten - nearly time for bed!

      2. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Elderly, fine. Boomer, NO!

        The trouble with you young whippersnapper journos is that you seem to have learnt this term from

        Trivial Pursuits instead of listening to your elders: The Bulge Babies.

        Yes, I was at the rising front, the conkering edge of the Bulge. My school roll doubled before I got to the sixth form. Rebuild the Skylon, instead of PARIS, and all will be forgiven.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    War ended 1945, baby boomers were the post-war generation, say 10 years, that makes them 55-65 years old, if my calculations are correct

    You sure you've got the right generation there?

    1. Reeshar

      Re: But...

      Yup, you're absolutely correct about the baby boomer age group not being quite right. The report actually says "...The timing of the post-1999 increase coincides with the complete replacement of the U.S. population's middle-age strata by the postwar baby boom cohorts, whose youngest members turned 40 years of age by 2005. These cohorts, born between 1945 and 1964..."

      So that would make the range 46 to 65 according to the report although I agree with you, moiety, that it is normally more tightly defined as 55 to 65.

      A further point to note is that this survey relates to the US not to the UK. Over the pond I suspect baby boomers have gone from boom (ahem) to bust and hence have greater cause to be depressed and top themselves.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    Maybe not so much because of "a tantrum at the rude awakening of middle age, or simply like mindless sheep".

    Rather since having a good life on their own terms they want to exit at their own convenience, and not be reliant on anyone else as they rot away in some institution from geriatric diseases like Cancer or Alzhiemers.

    1. Keith T

      Good point

      Medical science is finding lots of new ways to give us a long slow painful death.

      True longevity is great, but a 10 to 15 year long slow painful death may be something people want to avoid.

      1. Michael 77
        Paris Hilton

        fixed that for ya

        Medical science is finding lots of new ways to give us a long slow painful life.

        Paris - she knows stuff about medical science ....

  10. Anonymous Coward


    "Another is that the pampered Boomers simply can't put up with the general misery and discomfort which come with getting old."

    My monies on this one. As a baby boomer myself we have had (as is pointed out with mind numbing regularity) pretty much the best of everything (though I sadly seemed to have missed out on most of it), and it's harder for people to adjust if in material terms you've have something to lose in the first place (wonder how many people in these statistics were caught out with "buy to let"!).

    Also I remember when I was younger older people frequently saying they wish they could die due to suffering various medical problems, however these days the information is available online and indeed whole Swiss clinics exist which mean you don't have to suffer on if medically you have to lead a very painful, miserable, existence.

    As far as the medical profession and society goes the whole impetus is to preserve life at whatever the cost, however we all die eventually, and for some people their lives have got to the point where they just don't want top be here anymore.

    1. AlgernonFlowers4

      Preserve life?

      Having read about 'old' people dying because they couldn't get a glass of water and having seen at first hand the caring professions attitude to 'older' people I am not surprised that baby boomers are opting for suicide instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Close but no cigar

      Indeed, you have had the best and screwed the rest. Jolly well spotted.

      There is a minor, but not entirely insignificant detail you missed though - you did so on credit (in every possible sense of this word, not just the financial one) and you thought that you will never ever have to pay for it. It was us, the next generation, which was supposed to foot the bills for your excesses. Pay for your pensions, health care, everything.

      Tough luck, you will be paying for it _YOURSELF_ now. No pension age any more, and 20+ years of austerity all the way until you work yourself into the grave while still facing a big red credit bill at the end of each month.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        In best Monty Python Life of Brian voice

        Who me?, ooh thank you very much!

        And speaking personally, many of the bad things blamed on the baby boom generation are more to do with politics at various times than any one persons decision, the whole welfare state largely came about because of the war and a desire to move away from the crap social conditions that prevailed before it, would you like to go back to those times?

        Credit?, so only the boomers went mad with credit in the last ten years?, only boomers went mad with buying property portfolios?, and the Government loosening financial regulation and the availability of cheap Japanese credit (Carry trade) had nothing whatsoever to do with this?

        Give it 20-30 years and the next generation will have just as much cause to hate "you" and "your decisions".

        As for me I worked freelance most of my life, never had an overnight stay in hospital, and I am now living in a European country paying my own bloody pension, health insurance and're welcome!

  11. Red Bren

    Wrong age range?

    I'm not sure that 40 year olds would consider themselves baby boomers. I thought 1960 was the cut off.

  12. Michael 28

    Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.

    Hmm... Assuming the overall population at this age is primarily female ...(I'm extrapolating from scottish figures ... bear with me)

    this does tend to beg the question, why is this happening now?

    Admittedly , substance abuse may be an issue...( or lack thereof... must be one hell of a hangover sobering up in your sixties)

    Self esteem and other psychological issues might be at fault? How do these people measure their success? In a recession, if their shallow enough to measure wealth in posessions, then hard cheese.

    then again, maybe these statistics need dragging out in more detail.

    ...think i'll leave it to the Daily Express crowd...and wait for a suitable headline.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Michael 28

      Even if you extrapolate from the Scottish figures I think you'll find that the population in question is NOT primarily female

      1. Michael 28

        Proving my point

        Post-35 the population ratio skews. , and in most cases is highest in the specific skew around 65, the age grouping i mentioned. Wasn't talking about the WHOLE population.

        Put another way, judging by the statistics for the group mentioned, if some nutter were to jump off a building and land on you , IF they're a "Baby Boomer", is the probability that they're male or female EXACTLY equal??? I personally don't think so.... these details could be important, tho ...some people comfort eat instead of resorting to substance abuse.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway, never mind them

    How's my generation doing? I was born in the 60s, which according to Wikipedia makes me part of "Generation X".

    I feel we are already at something of an advantage here, as we have a much cooler name than "baby boomers". But are we all topping ourselves yet? Should I put my affairs in order, or put a few quid in the pension fund?

    Dying to know.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Just who are you describing here? My parents, born 1914 & 1919, had a pretty easy time of it after the war, with healthcare and childrens' education all fully paid for by the state, mortgage tax relief etc etc, followed by a defined benefit pension on which they could afford a long leisured retirement. I, born in 1952 - what I would assume to be prime baby boom period - have had to pay for medical insurance to get any hope of competent care, regret trusting my children's education to the state and am the grateful recipient of defined contribution pension schemes, which the insurance companies have ensured made no gains when times were good and are now worth less than the contributions. I do not expect to be taking any cruises in my retirement, whenever that is, unless care for the elderly is outsourced to some Liberian registered banana boat company.

  15. Joe Harrison

    Am I getting jammy yet?

    I don't get all this hating on us boomers. Don't get me started but I never had all the goodies you gen x & y lot take for granted (xboxes, going to uni, indoor toilets...) What am I supposed to have done to "pull teh ladder up behind me" then? Been paying out taxes and what have you since forever and now you grudge me every penny. Kids, bah.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Happy slappy generation gappy

      Honestly, as a "Gen-X"-er (1973) neither do I. It all seems like a rather artificial division when you consider that every generation does the same things in the same order, barring any massive worldwide upheavals.

      My generation bitches about how the boomers screwed everything up for us while deriding gen-Y and millennials for being lazy, selfish, slacking feckers who'll never be ready for leadership.

      Sounds a lot like what I hear some boomers say about my generation and that of their parents, doesn't it?

      All a bit silly really, if you ask me.

      1. Bob Foster
        Thumb Up


        A brief trawl through the web produced the following:

        An extract from a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274:

        "The world is passing through troublesome times. The young people of

        today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for

        parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as

        if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is

        foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest

        and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."

        Attributed quote of Plato (428– 348 BC), complaining to Socrates, in ancient Greece:

        “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

        Hesiod (around 700 BC.):

        “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”

        [Note: the word "wise" above as used by Hesiod actually means "smartass". Kind of like derogatorily saying today someone is a "wiseguy".

  16. paul clinch


    "40 - 59", "prolonged and luxurious retirements, hip replacements " How do these two statements go together.

    I'm 52 with no prospect of impending retirement and was certainly too late for 'flower power'.

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    wrong boomers?

    > Westerners in the 40-59 age bracket (as the Boomers now are)

    I've always understood the "baby boom" was post WW2 when all the military went home and ..... boom!. That makes the boomers born from 1945 to (say)1955. In that case they'd be 55-65, not 40-59 That fits in with being hippy age group in the 60's (aged 15-25)

    Also, while the boomers are generalised into ex-hippie, red-braces, greed-is-good types, most people of that era weren't hippies, didn't do drugs. they didn't own a red Porsche in the 80's nor did they wave their wad while drinking champagne.

    Although it makes a nice story - complete with a small peppering of schadenfreude for the spiteful to get off on, I don't buy the basic premise, let alone the faulty maths or the generalisations.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    baby-boomers are at least 10 years older than 40-59

    I fail to see how people born in the 60's can be considered baby boomers, they were not born or were mere infants during the 60's, primary school kids in the 70's - secondary school and uni in the 80's, and are now in their 40's

    During that time, they have been terrified by various authorities regarding global cooling, ozone layers, pollution, global warming, extinction of many large iconic animal species, etc, that their parents had caused by their self serving, pampering rush to live up to the Jones's...

    Definitely not what one would usually consider a "baby boomer"

    1. Keith T

      The cut-off is 1960 or 64, depending on who you ask

      Baby boomers are the children of people who went off to WWII and began having children after WWII. So 1949 to 1960 or 64, depending on who you ask.

  19. heyrick Silver badge

    What's wrong with this picture?

    I'd be inclined to agree with AC at the top that since "9/11" (or thereabouts) the world has gone to hell in a handbasket...

    ...but on the other hand, maybe it is when they realise how poor their pensions will be, coupled with ever-increasing difficulty in finding final work or promotions due to being "too old"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "What's wrong with this picture?"

      Or perhaps people have finally realized (possibly subconsciously) since "9/11" that their own governments really are full of puppets of non-entity, and that the use of a pencil every four years isn't worth a rat's fart.

  20. Seanie Ryan

    substance abuse and loss of investments

    I remember reading a study some time back that predicted this. Substance abuse that boosts the production of serotonin in the body makes you feel good, but apparently, if you take enough of it, the body stops naturally producing serotonin and in many cases, it just never restarts.

    So once you "grow up" and stop using, you now have no natural way to feel good. You just feel neutral or bad. New grandson? Meh.

    and now that many of those have seen the value of their pensions and property investments evaporate, a way out is better than the shame of admitting to the family and peers that they think they have failed.

    years of wisdom and fireside tales lost.

    1. Keith T

      Substance abuse not that new

      There was substance abuse before the days of flower children.

      People abused grain and wood alcohol, even gasoline. And cocaine has been abused for centuries.

      For other narcotics, think of Sherlock Holmes. Opiates weren't controlled as they began to be in the 1960s, and use was common place.

      1. Seanie Ryan

        slight difference

        "Substance abuse that boosts the production of serotonin" is a subset of Substance abuse.

        I'm mainly pointing at items like ecstacy.

        also substance abuse has dramatically increased in the last 30-40 years.

  21. Chris Byers

    I thought I was Generation X?

    At 40 (born 1970) to baby boomers I'm pretty sure I am one of Generation X (

    As for why they are topping themselves? Perhaps a legacy of finacial ruin, CCTV, junk food run amok and the dashing of the hopes and dreams of the following generations may be reason enough? It's a gross over simplification of course, but I await with glee the enforced guilt dramas about the nastyness of the baby boomers in a series of BBC dramas over the coming years. After all, it's only fair that whilst they made documentaries and dramas making my generation feel bad about slavery, racisim, the empire and a whole raft of other subjects we had nothing to do with that perhaps it's payback time?

  22. John H Woods Silver badge

    No context ...

    ... no meaning. For instance, when compared to the previous generation, it is much more likely that someone in this age group knows that they have a terminal condition - or one, such as alzheimers, that could ruin their children's lives. Compared to the previous generation, they didn't have the bizarrely life-affirming experience of surviving the war. Or maybe, as suggested by Joe K, they don't fear going to hell - just living through it.

    1. LaeMing


      It would be telling to know how many of these suicides are in preference to an anticipated drawn-out painful death.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    oh how terrible

    what kind of food will they have at the funeral?

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      I've only read ....

      ... the comments this far to see if someone would provide a helpful link for nominations. I'd not gotten to the food question.

      Shame on you for such a thought!

      (if you run across a nominations link, let me know, won't you ?)

  24. Anonymous John


    Perhaps they've (we're) just tired of being called baby boomers.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not All Baby Boomers

    I think this report is targeting middle-class baby boomers since my parents, aunts and uncles are all better off now after having a pretty rough working class childhood - way too many stories about tripe spring to mind.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's coz Radio 4 pushes Apple products and, man! they're depressing.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    wake up and smell the coffee!

    I'm one of those "boomers".

    Lots of "hippies" got suckered into the pyramid scheme known as mortgages. Recent events have pulled the rug on that one.

    Even my "greenest" chums bought a dishwasher 30 seconds after starting a family.

    I think that it has dawned on them that the world is now officially f***ed due to the amount of crap being generated by their 4x4 driving offspring.

    My 2 cents.

    1. ian 22

      Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse

      This is their last chance to leave a good looking corpse. Simples.

      1. Ian Stephenson
        Dead Vulture

        Really? Two out of three aint bad.

        I've always subscribed to the Live fast, die young, leave a terrible mess for someone else to clear up.

        It appears most others have too.

  28. truetalk

    Perspective & locality, stats don't you just love em..

    Whilst there is an increase in suicides, I believe it's double (although it's not easy to find any numbers in that article). The headline does make it sound like half the population over 40 are in the throws of topping themselves...

    In reality, if I have got the figures correct (probably not) it's about 0.003%-0.006% of the population of the United States (ie not the United Kingdom or Europe). That's about 2500-5000 people amongst a population of 250,000,000 over a period of eight years. During the same period 28,000,000 people died in the US of other causes. (estimate).

    As the article is a study of the USA, you can't assume this applies to the rest of the world. It's quite possible that us boomers in the UK are mostly happy (although we like a good moan) because we have a state that looks after us a bit better when we get ill (even if we are poor) than the US goverment looks after the US citizen ?. It doesn't matter if it's a labour goverment or conservative they both generally do a better job of looking after those who need help (most of the time) in the UK. But maybe that has nothing to do with why there is an increase in the suicide rate in the USA. You'll only know if you do a study of the circumstances of that persons life and death.

    As 28,000,000 died of other causes during the same period perhaps the time and money & studies be spend on the biggest causes of death (which isn't suicides).

    1. Keith T

      The baby boom is mostly a north american thing

      I recall reading that the baby boom is mostly a North American thing.

      Obviously South American men weren't away in WWII, so no post war pregnancy boom.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      For perspective in the US the #1 killer of people from 25-44 is severe *trauma* IE car crashes, shootings, fatal beatings by spouses/money lenders/random street gangs.

      *None* of that is self inflicted and I would not call *any* of it "natural".

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Easy answer

    These people were part of the most advantaged generation of all time. They grew up after the last great war, in the country that reaped all the spoils. They became tremendously wealthy, and put all their money into their 401ks and houses. Since the turn of the millennium their portfolios have taken a beating, and after the housing bust their million dollar properties aren't worth half that. Inflation is set to take off, and they just can't afford retirement.

    But as for it being bad news that they are topping themselves? From an socio/economic standpoint that would be a good thing, right? Less expenditures on benefits?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Easy answer

      I think you'd need a lot more than 0.003%-0.006% of the population (going on the numbers from truetalk above) to make any difference to the economics.

      Obesity might make a difference though, given the high rate in the developed world as the lardasses pulmonary systems give up prematurely for one reason or another.

    2. Keith T

      You have all these retirement savings looking for something to invest in

      You have all these retirement savings looking for something to invest in.

      Money becomes worthless and interest rates plummet.

      It wasn't all good being in the baby boom either.

      Remember that we all faced overcrowded schools.

      The people on the leading edge of the baby boom were able to get in and have terrific careers. The people in the middle and the trailing edge have always been locked out of easy promotions by people who aren't retiring because they are just a few years older than us.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Not just luck

        > leading edge of the baby boom were able to get in and have terrific careers

        Mostly I think the people who did well out of the BB are the ones who worked hard and had a lot of talent. it wasn't the pure dumb luck of being in the right place at the right time (though as prosperity increased during the 50 s and 60s, that helped) - it was having the right skills, working long hours doing difficult jobs in risky industries that got them to the top. Just as it does with the winners in any generation

      2. Dagg
        Thumb Up

        So Very True!

        >The people in the middle and the trailing edge have always been locked out of easy promotions by people who aren't retiring because they are just a few years older than us.

        They (the early boomers) also got the cheap housing and then made profits selling it to us the late boomers! By the time my genitalia dropped all the free love had finished.

  30. Keith T

    A lot of us boomers didn't meet our expectations

    A lot of us boomers more or less didn't meet our expectations.

    We lost our idealism, trading it for a career. We had huge expectations for our careers, but the careers didn't go so well.

    So we are less wealthy than our parents, facing unsecure retirement years, and we didn't begin to pursue our original idealistic goals.

    We see ourselves as big disappointments, so it is not surprising we are knocking ourselves off.

    In my case, I was depressed until I got a serious incurable illness.

    When nature wants to kill you off, all of a sudden you want to live. It makes no sense, but there you go.

  31. truetalk
    Black Helicopters

    It was Murder !

    Looking at it from a different angle. Maybe these were not suicides, they were just made to look like suicides. Perhaps all that C.S.I. stuff is a load of Hokum and in reality the US police don't actually have the time and resources to investigate suspected suicides... after all, these are rich baby boomers....

    ( I watch a lot of Poirot )

  32. James Thomas


    This sort of socially responsible voluntary euthenasia should be encouraged!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a mothers union then,

    more a collection of Stepford wives, what a bunch of boring old farts you are.!!!!!!!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really A Baby Boomer myself ...


    I'm not really a Boomer, not at 51. But I quite understand why some people my age and a little bit older are topping themselves and its quite simple: they're bored. Utterly, stupefyingly bored with modern life. In spite of all the perceived so-called good stuff these days, the world today is in fact stunningly low-brow -- and most of the people in it are vacuous, castrated dullards. The standards of public life are at an all-time low (I wouldn't mind politicians being crooks if they were interesting crooks) but this lot are fucking retarded. Or so it seems to me.

    Given this, you have two choices. Gradually retreat into the culture of the past (there's lots of that) or call it a day.

    Personally I am never bored and think it shows a lack of imagination to be so but I can honestly see how some people have had enough these days.


  35. Al fazed


    At the end of the day, does it really matter if death comes at our bidding, when we are ready, or are we still that frightened of god that putting up with this shit, in this place, until nature takes it's course, is a seen as the better option ?

    I've experienced a war throughout so called peace time, continuous since 1945, along with world polution, the endangerment and extinction of wild animals, torture of domestic dogs and rabbits in the name of science, rape and pillage of the worlds resources to enrich fat bastard humans desire for more and more, and then you make it sound like it's the same rich fat bastards that are committing suicide.

    I'd have thought it was more likely to be those who are being bitten by the recession, dinner of the super rich, those who have nothing or very little to look forward to in their longer life, other than being a huge financial burden on their already over taxed children.

    WTF ?

    You still haven't worked it out ?

    Life's a bitch and then you die !

    What's so wrong with that ?

    FOAD ? Why not ? Is there something better on offer that I've missed ?


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably Depressed

    Probably depressed at the sight of their ignorant, self-obsessed, shallow offspring.

  37. Nigel 11

    Could it be the drugs?

    Might it be something to do with the widespread use of recreational psychoactive drugs? Maybe one or more of the common "recreational" drugs are to one's long-term mental health, what asbestos is to one's long-term lung health.

    Or even medicaly prescribed psychoactives? I read somewhere once, that one in three of the USA middle classes are on some form of psychoactive medication. I found that quite scary (if true).

    Beer - tried and tested for millennia, safe for most of us. (Moderate drinking raises life expectancy).

    1. Dagg


      >Beer - tried and tested for millennia, safe for most of us. (Moderate drinking raises life expectancy).

      Also helps ugly people breed!

  38. Gareth Gouldstone

    Socially responsible adults, I say

    This is simply the realisation that living to a 'ripe old age' is likely to mean dribbling and shitting your way off of this mortal coil at the expense of future generations and irreplaceable resources (oil for heating and washing). I would hope to choose a more dignified exit at a time of my own choosing, too.

    1. LaeMing

      I have every intention of choosing my own time

      though I am not expecting to need to do so for quite a number of decades yet.

      Compared to described above, being dead - which I am pretty sure feels just like not-having-been-born-yet (and I spent an awrful long time not noticing being in that state) is preferable!

  39. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    ...hadn't previously tended to kill themselves a lot.

    Nah. In Olden Tymes[tm], just the once was considered enough.

    Alright, I'm going, the one with the Kevorkian Do Yourself In kit in the pocket, thanks.

  40. Foosinator

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics

    Of course, how you state the information can make anything sound much better or worse than it really is.

    For example: This article says the "rates" are much higher now? What do they mean by rates?

    If they mean that twice as many suicides per 1000 in that age group, then that might indeed be a trend, but knowing the press, it could just as easily be twice as many suicides per year, which means nothing when the population of the age groups themselves fluctuates so much.

    And, yes, stating the actual statistics, especially the kinds of units involved, can make a big difference in the believability of an article.

  41. Ned Ludd

    Time to die...

    Going through life thinking you're part of Generation X, only to be told halfway through that you're actually a Baby Boomer is surely enough to make one suicidal!

  42. Northumbrian

    An outbreak of rationality?

    The Boomers are the first generation to watch their parents succumbing to dementia in large numbers - 1in 4? something like that. Now, if you think that a similar fate is coming your way, then you might well decide that you'll skip it.

    Dementia can be just distressing - I watched a family member just get weaker and more confused, but she remained herself. Another older one spent two years trying to spoon food into the mouths of invisible children, and fretting because they hadn't been bathed. Frightening. At that point you may feel that God has already taken the person away, and left the body behind.

    So maybe they just took a look at the way the party was going and decided it was time to go home.

    I'm rather dubious about this, "rejecting the gift of life," bit when it came to suicide. I'm old enough to remember when tea came out of teapots, and often there will still tea leaves in your cup. No hostess would expect you to drink the last drop of tea with the dregs in it - you left the last bit in the cup, because it wasn't fit to drink. I understand port drinkers did the same.

    So why would God demand that you should eat every bit of meat - even the gristle, or all of the apple without discarding the core?

    Maybe the suicidal have just decided that they will kill themselves whilst still can - if you wait until you're really ill then you can't kill yourself and no one is allowed to help you. No, our current law in the UK has a simple message - if you think you might want out, then do it whilst you're fit and healthy.

    Of course, the "Boomers" might simply realise that everyone aged 30-45 now wants their parents dead as soon as possible to get hold of the money before its wasted on someone else's enjoyment or health care. Some of them love their kids enough to oblige.

  43. Farmfood

    Good grief, do you read your own copy?

    40-59 in the year 2000 -- baby Boomer, maybe. 2010? -- sod off.

    I'm 39 years old and therefore going through a sensitive and highly personal mid-life crisis. But I will not accept that I'm also a borderline Baby Boomer. My Dad was a Baby Boomer. I'm simply a Sad Bastard.

  44. Dagg

    Boomers 40 to 59?

    Yea, right. If you are that age you actually missed out on the 60s and the hippy period. At 40 you were born in 1970, the sixties and the hippy period were well over. You could actually be a child of a hippy couple. 50 means your were born in 1960 and so were a child during the sixties. Yea all that free love! Only if you are over 50 did you have a possible chance to enjoy it all. The boomers that are over 60 are the ones that had the best of it!

    I think the reason the 40-59 are topping themselves is they missed out on it all.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Causes, anyone?

    Not once in the article or subsequent comments has anyone mentioned mental health. No wonder the stats are what they are when the medical conditions surrounding suicide are minimized or ignored by so many folks.

    The condescending tone of the article is breathtaking (Lewis?!), the research somewhat less so since it has to have an appearance of scientific method. I note that mental health diagnoses were not addressed in the research either. Glib assumptions about cultural causes isn't going to contribute to ground based solutions nor help educate people about the risks of depression and mood disorders. Count yourselves at risk then, and good luck with that.

    1. Northumbrian

      Substance abuse?

      Several of the posters have mentioned "substance abuse" and I think one of the most common side effects is supposed to be mental health disorders.

      This could account for the growing numbers of those killing themselves as a result of mental health problems.

      I think perhaps that the numbers with mental health problems from more traditional causes (bad genes, bad luck) would not have changed very much over the decades, so they would not account for the increase.

  46. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But they had so much left still to contribute

    At *least* another 10-20 years of social security payments.

    From a government PoV the *perfect* age to die is

    1 day before you start claiming a government paid pension.

  47. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    For me "Baby boomers" always creates mental images

    of infants going through the sound barrier.

    And that's without any substance abuse

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It appears one doesn't have to read too far down this list of comments to spot a load of "I want to blame the last generation" nonsense being sprouted. The 'baby boomer' generation has not just taken; many have given much in taxes, and built up pensions that then are reneged on because the company apparently hasn't bothered to fund it properly, and find when they need to be helped from society rather than give, the rules change and it's a case of, "oh you did well, prudently went without to put money aside, well in that case you can spend it, we have some who couldn't and many who didn't bother to fund so sod you for being a decent person".

    It is the 'baby boomer' generation that has funded and often continues to do so, the present one when they need help, but now sees just resentment in return. Nonsense about the younger generation having to fund the pensions of the older one. It has always been the case with state pensions that those in employment have to generate the wealth for all. It wasn't different before, it shouldn't change now. The 'baby boomer' generation should not be made the scapegoats because other generations don't want to take up their responsibility as the past ones did.

    As for the point of the article, my suspicion is that it is partly down to expectations. One expects the previous generations to have had things harder, but expects future ones to have things better. Otherwise we are not progressing. Then after slogging away all their working life they find just more government interference and a "we don't care about you" attitude. And many ask what is the point of it all.

  49. Al 4

    Unemployment a big factor

    There was an article in the NY Times titled "Older Unemployed Struggle to Rejoin the Work Force",, refers to them as the new poor. Out of work, untrained for jobs that haven't been shipped overseas, pensions raided by Wall Street, and having to take jobs like greeters at Wallmart or worse and an average unemployed spell of 37 weeks and getting larger. This is a group that is seriously depressed. These are the ones that are committing suicide in numbers due to a bleak future. There may be other factors but this is the biggest I know of. It's also the group that politicians should be careful of because most I know still vote and aren't happy with either party.

  50. vagabonde

    The golden years?

    It’s no longer turning out to be the golden years of your life but the nightmare of your life.

    It wasn’t suppose to be like this, but with the recent economic travails and upheaval in society and mores, one generation has been struggling to come to terms with their current lot and failing miserably.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    uh, someone born in 1970 is NOT a boomer

    Uh, I think you need to review your math. Someone who is 40 today was born in 1970. That would pretty much disqualify them as either 60's hippie, a 70's war protester or an 80s Wall Street sociopath, since they would have been 10 years old in 1980...

    You're stuck at a time when middle age equaled baby boomer. Flower children and hippies were 18-29 in 1963-1974. That puts their birthdates at 1954 at the latest and more likely 1945.

    If 40 year olds are committing suicide, then that's generation X. The cause is likely job loss at the critical age in which they ought to be making the most money in preparation for retirement.

    The Wall Street boomers are still fat and happy , getting ready to once again suck this world for more than they ever gave in the form of social security while leaving future generations with the civilization destroying effects of global warming.

  52. Northumbrian

    A change in the label?

    One obvious aspect has not been mentioned in this article (though I haven't read the original) - it's a question of labelling.

    Fifty years ago (or thereabouts) suicide was illegal in this country, and thirty years ago there was still a tremendous social stigma. I remember seeing a programme on the rise in teenage suicides, where one person made the point that it was often hugely distressing to the family to see "suicide" on a death certificate - especially that of a child. So doctors put down "accidental death", as a kindness.

    However, the stigma is gradually receding, and families are less likely to need (or be allowed) to pretend that the death of their child was an accident, and so "suicide" was being written down more often on the death certificate. End result is that people who go and count the number of death certificates with "suicide" on them notice a marked increase.

    If you're careless or biased in your reporting, you may not mention that the records may reflect a different trend to the one you report.

    I don't know about these researchers, but the possibility that doctors might be writing "suicide" more often in the US as well seems worth considering.

  53. AgeingBabyBoomer

    Big effing yawn

    Hate piss on your two minutes of hate, but the UK baby boom peak (1964) and the US baby boom peak (1956?)are not in the same time frame. Hateful crap written to create intergenerational conflict in the US just doesn't map across.

    These are primarily the tactics of divide and rule designed to keep us fighting and distracted whilst the uber rich steal all the money.

    Additionally, my parents chose the time and country of my birth, and politicians in power during my childhood determined the kind of society I grew up in - nobody asked me what I wanted.

    And another thing, only 15% of folks went to uni in the 80's - you actually had to work hard and have some brains to make it there. These days 50% go, and it's basically an alternative to actually getting a proper job for a few years.

    My generation suffered crippling inflation and interest rates as well as higher taxation rates than now - please explain what part of the ladder got pulled up behind me.

    Plus ensuites, inside bogs, cell phones, self-contained university accommodation, multiple parent funded cars to taxi me from one party to the next - never happened in my day.

    Perhaps the higher suicide rate might reflect the disappointment at the ingratitude of the pampered 20 and 30 somethings of today - selfish little shits.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Big effing yawn

      Well, that's that then.

  54. JRichards33

    The author sounds rabid, and his facts are wrong.

    Not only does the guy sound rabid and irrational, but the facts on suicide do not back him up:

    U.S. Suicide Statistics (1990-2001)

    Suicide Rates

    Breakdown by Age Groups

    (Rates Per 100,000)

    Age 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

    5-14 0.8 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.8 0.7

    15-24 13.2 13.1 13.0 13.5 13.8 13.3 12.0 11.4 11.1 10.3 10.4 9.9

    25-34 15.2 15.2 14.5 15.1 15.4 15.4 14.5 14.3 13.8 13.5 12.8 12.8

    35-44 15.3 14.7 15.1 15.1 15.3 15.2 15.5 15.3 15.4 14.4 14.6 14.7

    45-54 14.8 15.5 14.7 14.5 14.4 14.6 14.9 14.7 14.8 14.2 14.6 15.2

    55-64 16.0 15.4 14.8 14.6 13.4 13.3 13.7 13.5 13.1 12.4 12.3 13.1

    65-74 17.9 16.9 16.5 16.3 15.3 15.8 15.0 14.4 14.1 13.6 12.6 13.3

    75-84 24.9 23.5 22.8 22.3 21.3 20.7 20.0 19.3 19.7 18.3 17.7 17.4

    85+ 22.2 24.0 21.9 22.8 23.0 21.6 20.2 20.8 21.0 19.2 19.4 17.5

    65+ 20.5 19.7 19.1 19.0 18.1 18.1 17.3 16.8 16.9 15.9 15.3 15.3

    Total 12.4 12.2 12.0 12.1 12.0 11.9 11.6 11.4 11.3 10.7 10.7 10.8

    Note the suicide rates have been DECREASING for age 55-64 as baby boomers fill up that block.

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