HUFFINGTON POST

Suicide Rates Higher For Americans Living Among Wealthy Neighbors: Study

11/09/2012 03:37 pm ET

It turns out keeping up with the joneses can take a harsh toll on your psychological well-being.

A new study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve concludes that people who earn less money than their neighbors are more likely to commit suicide than their counterparts earning the same income in a less wealthy neighborhood.

Given two people earning the same income, the person living in the county with a higher average income was found to be 4.5 percent more likely to commit suicide than the person living in a lower income area, the study reveals.

Although people making less than $10,000 are 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than those with incomes above $60,000, the San Francisco Federal Reserve paper shows that comparing yourself to those around you might have a larger impact on happiness than personal net worth.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Suicide rates have risen sharply in the U.S. since the recession began. Between 2008 and 2010, the rate increased four times faster than it did in the eight years before the recession, according to Reuters.

After reviewing two decades worth of research, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center found a strong relationship between unemployment, the economy and suicide. A paper from Timothy J. Classen of Loyola University Chicago and Richard A. Dunn of Texas A&M found that long spells of unemployment and mass layoffs were associated with an increase in suicide risk.

Indeed, a link between money and happiness has been found -- but only up to a certain point. People with lower annual incomes do report lower levels of self-happiness. But once you make a salary of $75,000 a year, additional income does not translate to added happiness, according to a study from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. Another study found that the respect people receive from those around them is more important than money when it comes to being happy, according to Yahoo.

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