New research out of Switzerland, where the practice is legal, reveals that euthanasia is more common among wealthier, educated individuals in urban areas, and among women and the non-religious. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology is summed up at Science Daily:
Study findings showed assisted suicide was more common in women than men, in people with secondary or tertiary rather than compulsory education, in those living alone, and in those with no religious affiliation. The rate was also higher in urban compared to rural areas, [and] in wealthier neighborhoods.
Having children was associated with a lower risk of assisted suicide in younger people, although not in older people.
The study led by Professor Matthias Egger of the University of Bern was limited to the Swiss population, so its application to the US is limited. Egger observed e.g. that "Oregon in the USA reported more men than women among assisted deaths."
The motivation for the research was in part to answer the question: does euthanasia, sometimes known as "mercy killing," disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of the population? Results suggest the answer is no, though Egger points out that those living alone as well as the divorced were more likely to opt for assisted suicide.
"We believe that such new regulation should mandate the anonymous registration of assisted suicides in a dedicated database, including data on patient characteristics and underlying cause," stated Egger, "so that suicides assisted by right-to-die associations can be monitored."
Via Science Daily.