According to a new joint study from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and England’s University of Warwick, New Yorkers are the least likely of Americans to commit suicide. Even so, that does not mean we’re particularly happy. Researchers determined that people’s overall feelings of well-being may actually relate inversely to suicide rates, meaning that the “happiest places” end up having the higher suicide rates. Researcher Andrew Oswald explained that “discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life,” A/K/A, misery loves company. Whereas if you’re the happiest person in a roomful (or state) of unhappy people, you probably feel pretty much okay, if in need of some new friends.
Utah was the number 1 state in terms of residents’ sense of well-being; at the same time, it was ranked 9 in suicide rate. Meanwhile, New York state was only 45th in well-being…but 50th in suicide.
This goes to support that study a while back that said that New Yorkers’ lives tended to be nasty, brutish…and long. Hey, maybe we like being miserable! Being unhappy in New York, after all, is often better than being happy elsewhere.
If you don’t believe that, the top 10 states for well-being are Utah, Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaii, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, and Nevada. Keep in mind, “four of those states also are in the top 10 for suicide rates, with Nevada ranked 3rd, Wyoming, 5th; Colorado, 6th; and Utah, 9th.”
Study: Some happy states have high suicide rates [AP via NY1]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 25, 2011