Who Died for Your iPad? Maybe a Normal Number of People

The New York Times reports on death in world of high-tech manufacturing :

For the eighth time this year, a worker has apparently committed suicide at a factory in China operated by Foxconn Technology, the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer and a major supplier to Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other global companies.

This was the factory where one worker killed himself last year over a missing iPhone prototype. But while the Times says that labor-rights groups and the Chinese media have both criticized conditions at Foxconn, the story also comes up with a demographic explanation. The complex employs 420,000 people—a population greater than that of metropolitan Reno .

According to 1999 data compiled by the World Health Organization, China has a suicide rate of about 14 deaths per 100,000 people. That figure suggests that the rate at Foxconn is not unusually high.