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Suicide No. 1 cause of death for younger people

Suicide was the No. 1 cause of death among the younger population in South Korea in 2011, with the suicide rate rising significantly over the past decade, a report showed Thursday.

According to the report by Statistics Korea, suicide was the leading cause of death among those aged 15-24 in 2011. The suicide rate per 100,000 among the age group stood at 13, up from 7.7 tallied in 2001.

Ten years ago, traffic accidents topped the list with the highest death rate of 15.6, the report showed. In 2011, traffic accidents were the No. 2 cause of death with the death rate of 7.8.

Cancer, heart diseases and drowning came next with the rates of 3.8, 1.0 and 0.8, respectively, the report showed.

The nation’s suicide rate had been on the rise since the early 1990s. It peaked in 1998 before declining slightly later. Since 2000, the rate has been growing again.

Meanwhile, younger people aged 9-24 accounted for 20 percent of the country’s total population as of 2013.

The ratio marked the lowest ever since related data started to be compiled in 1970, when it stood at 35.1.

The sharp decline is attributable to less marriages and chronically low birthrates. The agency expects that the population of younger people will likely decline further going forward as the number of childbirths has dropped significantly since the mid-1980s.

School-age children from multicultural families, however, increased over the past few years. Their number stood at 46,954 in 2012, up from 9,389 tallied in 2006, the report showed.

Internet use among younger people continued to rise. Teenagers spent an average of 14.1 hours per week on the Internet in 2012, up from 13.2 hours in 2011.

In particular, the use of smartphones among younger populations became more popular. Of those aged 12-19, 80.7 percent said that they used smartphones last year, up from 40 percent tallied a year earlier, the report showed. (Yonhap News)
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Korea Herald daum