What Is the Relationship between Happy Places and Suicide Rates?

Areas where people rate themselves the happiest also tend to have the highest suicide rates. For instance, Finland and Sweden rank sixth and seventh in the world in terms of life satisfaction, but they also have more suicides per 100,000 people than all but about 20 countries. Researchers think that this might be because people who are considering suicide in countries where people are generally satisfied with their lives see their situation as being worse than it is because they compare their lives to those of the happy people around them.

More facts about happy places and suicides:

  • This trend also holds true for many U.S. states. The two states in the U.S. that rank the happiest — Utah and Hawaii — have the ninth-highest and fifth-highest suicide rates, respectively.

  • Although this trend holds true for many states, it's not universal. For instance, New Hampshire ranks 28th in terms of life satisfaction but has the highest suicide rate of any U.S. state.

  • New York is one of the states with the lowest life satisfaction — 45th out of 50 — but it has the lowest suicide rate of any state.

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