Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Suicide Rates and Happiness Levels

Global suicide rates have increased by 60% in the past 45 years and it is now one of the three leading causes of death for people between 15 and 44 years old according to the World Health Organisation. People in countries with high suicide rates say they are unhappier, according to the “World Database of Happiness” maintained by Erasmus University in Rotterdam. But intrepreting suicide trends is tricky because there is no international standard for reporting and collecting data. Countries with strong religious or cultural strictures against suicide often report lower rates.
No big surprise that suicide levels go down as happiness levels rise.

I find it ironic that the one country with lower than expected levels of suicide, India, also believes in reincarnation.

And with the Supreme court handing down their Heller case opinion upholding everyone's right to buy a hand gun, it should be noted that there are more suicides than homicides in the US. So, if you are thinking about buying a gun, remember that the person you are most likely to shoot with it is yourself.

via The Economist


Audacious Epigone said...

Don't you think you ought to qualify that last paragraph?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see more warm countries on that chart ... I suspect that climate matters.

Fat Knowledge said...


Good point. See my new post.


Good question. But, wouldn't you figure that climate would impact both happiness and suicide rates equally?

I did a Google search to see if anything came up, and unfortunately they are all journals behind firewalls. This abstract is interesting though:

Explored variation of suicide and homicide rates in the major standard metropolitan statistical areas of the United States to see whether regional variations in temperature and precipitation could account for some of the variation. Only the correlation between precipitation and homicide rates survived controls for latitude and longitude.

Anonymous said...

Here's one from Italy ... avoid dry dark places:


Anonymous said...

Obviously happiness is a big part of suicide rates, but what about reincarnation beliefs in India. That has to have to play a role for it, considerably. They account for 11 percent of the worlds population for suicide and growing every year.

in my opinion it goes like this is how it goes for suicidal subjects in India. basically but not exactly of course
"oh well life sucks. I'm going to kill myself because i cant deal with it.Its not a big deal ill just come back as a tape worm or animal or something surely better than my life now."

EH you know.
kind of hard to prove that though

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't joke about suicide yesterday me and my mom got a call that our friend in Michigan took a gun and blew her head off. Her son committed suicide he hung him self two years ago after being diagnosed with Chrones disease. There is always that big hole left behind and the question why. People keep missing the warning signs . If you are depressed or thinking about taking your life please get help before its too late.

I don't want this to happen to any one else.


Anonymous said...

I found this while I was searching...http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/papers/2010/wp10-30bk.pdf

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