NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The happiest countries in the world just so happen to have high suicide rates, according to new research set to be published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization later this year.
Researchers from Great Britain’s University of Warwick, Hamilton College in New York City and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found this unfortunate correlation in Denmark, Canada, the U.S., Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland—all nations traditionally known for their high happiness quotients. You can check out this article on a recent Gallup poll which found Denmark to be the happiest country in the world, followed closely by Canada and Sweden.
The new research is based off of international data on suicide rates and an independent random sample of approximately 1 million Americans who were asked questions about suicide.
Unsurprisingly, the researchers discovered that the correlation between high estimated levels of well-being and suicide rates also exist within America’s individual states. For example, data indicated that Utah is ranked first in life-satisfaction, but also had the ninth highest suicide rate in the country. Meanwhile, New York was ranked 45th in life satisfaction, yet it had the lowest suicide rate in the country.
Researchers said the data doesn’t speak to any failings of prior surveys that had assessed the wellness of various nations. Rather, it’s just a fact that the surplus of happy people often drives others to despair.
“Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life,” University of Warwick researcher Andrew Oswald explained in a press release. “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.”