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The “happiest” countries have the highest suicide rates

felicitaRecently The Earth Institute of Columbia University released the 2013 World happiness report statistics concerning the happiest countries in the world. Countries were ranked according to a score, which 75% was determined by six variables including: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity. Northern Europe countries are the happiest: Denmark is the first and Norway is the second. Switzerland is the third and the Netherlands are in fourth position, while Sweden is number five. What is paradoxical is that the happiest countries have the highest suicide rates . Several experts, from Great Britain’s Warwick University to New York’s Hamilton College and San Francisco’s Federal Reserve Bank, revealed that in Denmark, Canada, United States of America, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, suicide rates are higher than in poorer countries. Andrew Oswald, from Warwick University, said: “Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. 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.” Referring to United States, for example, Utah is the first among the happiest areas, but it is also the ninth state for suicide rates. New York instead, which is the 45th city as life satisfaction is concerned, has the lowest suicide rate in the entire USA. Professor Stephen Wu of Hamilton College said: “This result is consistent with other research that shows that people judge their well-being in comparison to others around them. These types of comparison effects have also been shown with regards to income, unemployment, crime, and obesity.” But what are we considering, speaking about happiness? A country that helps people during everyday life is not to be confused as a happy country, it is only a livable one.

H.D.

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