In his song 'Terrorist' the artist Lowkey asserts:

When more Vietnam vets kill themselves

After the war than died in it?

Is this true?

  • 2
    Well, strictly speaking your are only a veteran once you're back from that war. Maybe people doing more than one 'tour' in Vietnam can be considered vets, but even then those killing themselves during their service will be lower than all those who committed suicide afterwards. I think it it safe to assume that Lowkey means that more veterans killed themselves afterwards than soldiers during.
    – user22865
    Sep 13, 2018 at 11:37
  • 3
    @JanDoggen actually (if I'm reading your comment correctly) the song lyrics seem to claim "more Vietnam veterans committed suicide after the war, than soldiers died of any cause during the war." There are definitely other interpretations that might change whether the statement is factual or not though, especially if you take it literally and check for the numbers of Vietnam veterans that died during the Vietnam war. Sep 13, 2018 at 14:59
  • @KamilDrakari Yes, that's what I meant, I forgot the word died
    – user22865
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:14
  • This CDC report seems like it is relevant, but I am finding what seem to be contradictory results. I am probably misinterpreting the data and I do not have time to figure it out right now. cdc.gov/nceh/veterans/default1a.htm Sep 13, 2018 at 15:21
  • I guess "Vietnam vets" here refers to combatants from countries other than Vietnam (?). Dec 2, 2022 at 2:15

1 Answer 1


Looks like bad data:


Old (1990) data, but estimating 9,000 suicides amongst the Vietnam vets.


Again, old, but with the same number.

While I find the 50,000+ numbers in various places none are high quality. I strongly suspect that the 50,000+ numbers count all military suicides, not merely Vietnam.

  • 13
    Can you clarify your answer? As it stands, without visiting the links, I have no clue what you're talking about or if the answer is yes or no.
    – Laurel
    Sep 14, 2018 at 1:58
  • 2
    the "9,000" figure is only through the early 1980s
    – DavePhD
    Sep 14, 2018 at 15:14
  • 1
    @DavePhD But why would the rate have shot up afterwards? Everything I can find that looks remotely solid is simply counting veteran suicides, not specifically Vietnam. Sep 14, 2018 at 21:22
  • 1
    @LorenPechtel Not to say that this is happening here, but suicide rates are high in elderly populations. Rates could increase after 1980s because of the age of the vets.
    – Tashus
    Oct 16, 2018 at 18:15
  • I can imagine that someone aged 23 returning home from the worst thing they would ever encounter in their life might not commit suicide (too much of a life to throw away), but with every year spent the value of their life goes down. So you'd have to count the total. But if we care about what the artist meant, not what he said, we would subtract suicides for other reasons.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 5, 2022 at 17:46

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