“Happiest places have highest suicide rates”

The happiest countries and happiest U.S. states tend to have the highest suicide rates,… The happiest countries and happiest U.S. states tend to have the highest suicide rates,… States with people who are generally more satisfied with their lives tended to have higher suicide rates than those with lower average levels of life satisfaction.

The researchers then also tried to make their comparison between States even fairer and yet more homogeneous by adjusting for clear population differences between the states including age, gender, race, education, income, marital status and employment status. Even with these adjustments. This still produced a very strong correlation between happiness levels and suicide rates although some states shifted their positions slightly. Hawaii then ranks second in adjusted average life satisfaction but has the fifth highest suicide rate in the country.

“Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy.”

“This result is consistent with other research that shows that people judge their well-being in comparison to others around them. These types of comparison effects have also been shown with regards to income, unemployment, crime, and obesity.” more

And my conclusion is:  Don’t pretend to be happier that what you actually are. That may make those around you feel worse in comparison!



A link to the article can be found here. See below one of the graphs which I found of special interest.

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2 thoughts on ““Happiest places have highest suicide rates”

  1. Heart says:

    Oh wow, that is a revelation! Hmm.. Before reading the conclusion, I wondered if these happy people living in the happy places are prone to suicide when they suddenly or momentarily come across a low point in life.. – because it was too traumatic and they are not used to horrible stuff happening to them?!
    Imagine Switzerland on the top of the graph.. Ha, irony!!

    • epanechnikov says:

      How I see this study is that being both unfortunate and an outlier (i.e. living in a society where the majority of the citizens appear to be privileged in comparison) is not a good thing…

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