04/25/2011 05:06 pm ET Updated Aug 01, 2015

New York's Suicide Rate Lowest In The Country

New Yorkers may be be the least likely of Americans to commit suicide, but that doesn't mean they're the happiest.

Researchers from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York and England's University of Warwick, who studied how people's sense of well-being differs from place to place, decided to compare their findings with suicide rates.

The surprising results showed that some of the nation's happiest states also had the highest percentage of suicides.

Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life," suggested Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England.

Or, put another way by co-author Stephen Wu of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., those surrounded by unhappy people may not feel so bad for themselves.

But Wu urged caution in drawing conclusions, saying: "I don't think that means if you are unhappy you should be around others who are unhappy."

Their study ranked Utah as the No. 1 state for residents' sense of well-being, but it also scored a high No. 9 in suicide rate. By contrast New York State ranked a low 45th in well-being, but an even lower 50th in suicides.

The researchers came up with their rankings from a federal survey of behavioral risk factors and U.S. Census Bureau numbers on suicide rates.

The study seems to support findings earlier this year that Manhattanites have poorer mental health than the rest of the country but also tend to live longer.

Of the states that ranked in the top 10 for well-being, four also ranked in the top 10 for suicide rates with Nevada ranked 3rd, Wyoming, 5th; Colorado, 6th; and Utah, 9th.