Year: 2010 Source: San Francisco, CA: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, (February 2010). 16p. SIEC No: 20101157

This study documents a paradox: the happiest places have the highest suicide rates. The study combines findings from 2 large & rich individual-level data sets – one on life satisfaction & another on suicide deaths – to establish the paradox in a consistent way across American states. It replicates the finding in data on Western industrialized nations & checks that the paradox is not an artifact of population composition or confounding factors. The study concludes with the conjecture that people may find it particularly painful to be unhappy in a happy place, so that the decision to die by suicide is influenced by relative comparisons. (16 refs.) JA