NEW DELHI: The
in deaths due to accidents and suicides in India has got wider over the years with males now accounting for over 80% of accidental deaths and more than 70% of suicides. Half a century ago, those proportions were around 63% and 60%, respectively.
In case of suicides, this change has happened largely over the last 20 years, while in accidental deaths, the process has been more prolonged and driven mostly by road accidents accounting for a larger share of them now. Data released from
National Crime Records Bureau
publication Accidental Deaths & Suicides shows there were 4.2 lakh accidental deaths in 2019.
Males accounted for just over 70% of suicides in 2019
Of the 4.2 lakh accidental deaths in 2019, 3.4 lakh were males and just under 81,000 females while 37 were transgender. That’s 81%
or a ratio of over four males for every female, a significant change from fifty years ago. In 1969, males accounted for a little over 82,000 of the 1.3 lakh accidental deaths or about 63% while females accounted for a little under 49,000. That was a ratio of 1.7 male deaths for every female death in accidents.
The data also shows that of the 1.4 lakh suicides in 2019, nearly 98,000 were male and close to 41,500 were female. That makes the male share just over 70% and the male-female ratio in suicides about 2.4:1. Once again, this is considerably more skewed than in 1969, when there just under 26,000 male suicides and about 17,700 female suicides, a ratio of 1.5:1.
What explains the increased skew? In the case of accidents, one reason is the increasing contribution of road accidents. Half a century ago, road accidents accounted for just about 5% of all accidental deaths – 7,071 of 1.3 lakh in 1969. In 2019, they accounted for close to 37% of the total – 1.5 lakh of 4.2 lakh. Road
victims have always been overwhelmingly male for obvious reasons. In 2019, 1.3 lakh of the 1.5 lakh people who died in road accidents were male. As they account for a larger share of all accidental deaths, therefore, the gender skew gets accentuated.