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Could having too much money make you suicidal?

Time magazine came out with an article: Why suicides are more common in richer neighbourhoods, and says researcher Daniel Wilson (Senior Economist @ San Francisco Fed), found that those who lived in higher income neighbourhoods, tend to be 4.5% more suicidal, than those with the same income living in a different area.


The reason for this is mostly the green eyed monster, and trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, whom we all know do NOT exist save for in our heads.

They also noted that previous studies proved that when someone makes $10,000, they are 50% more likely to commit suicide than someone who makes above $60,000 and people who are unemployed are also 75% more likely to commit suicide.

The study came up with a new number at the end that says if you make less than $34,000 a year, you are more likely to commit suicide by 50%.


It isn’t until you reach an income of $102,000 that you will have the lowest rate of suicide. Any income you make above $102,000, has marginal returns on your chances of committing suicide

The worst case scenario? Making a low income and living in a high-income neighbourhood.

(However I am not sure if this takes into account OPM (other people’s money), or their parents subsidizing their lifestyle to be able to live in such a nice area.)

It’s kind of scary to think that how much you make is so literally connected to your chances of living.

We really do live in a money-hungry society.


  • Revanche

    I feel like drawing that conclusion is far too simple; jealously and dissatisfaction from comparing unfavorably to others probably doesn’t actually directly correlate. There are other factors like making bad decisions now that they have money (which people do with or without money but possibly they actually notice the effects now or they make bad decisions with greater impact), or regretting circumstances that either came with the increased income or didn’t, or something entirely different.

    I think it’s a good idea to be aware of the possibility of overwhelming jealousy πŸ™‚ but there’s a whole lot of other possible issues related to higher income. Of course, I’ll risk it anyway. πŸ˜‰

    • Revanche

      Oops, I meant to say: doesn’t actually mean it’s a direct cause, despite the correlations. Typing too fast for my brain…

      • Mochi & Macarons

        Hahah! I got it.

        I’ll risk being rich, although I’m fairly sure my personality is less about being jealous (okay, maybe a little).. and more about being impressed/motivated by others’ success. Their success gives me ideas and hope for my own.

  • fabulously frugirl


    Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure has a high correlation with life. Which is kind of scary. I’m surprised that the salary for lowest rate of suicide is still so high.

    So, I’m taking from this that it’s better to make the big bucks and live in a not so swanky neighborhood. That way, at least you’re not always comparing yourself to other swanky people.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter

    I can very much see a causal relationship existing between income and suicide rates. That’s right up there with the kinds of things that I’ve studied πŸ™‚ It does make sense though, people with very low incomes often feel trapped by the bills for basic necessities. Likewise with the unemployment stat, for most people a lot of our self worth is tied to our employment.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I can only think of that German billionaire who suicided because he lost a few billion or something. He still had a boatload of money but the drop made him snap.

  • Liquid_Independence

    I’ve seen other studies that suggest higher income earners also have longer life expectancies than people making less. I still have a long way to go before reaching $102K lol. I wonder if making a high income in a poor neighborhood is the best case scenario.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I’d believe that. More money for health, less stress, disposable income for relaxing.
      Interesting. But maybe that high income earning bit doesn’t work in poor neighborhoods due to perceived or real safety concerns.
      Maybe high income earners in rural, small cities?

  • PK

    “It’s kind of scary to think that how much you make is so literally connected to your chances of living.” – I’m here to be that guy – we don’t know what is causal. Perhaps the gene/personality trait which causes jealousy to be reinterpreted as “commit suicide” is also a trait which allows people to make more money? There wouldn’t be pressure to select away from the gene if you also note that the people committing suicide are into their childbearing years or past.

    Or, maybe, it is causative. We should probably sue whomever came up with the advice “buy the worst house in a good neighborhood”, then.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      All I can think about is that German billionaire who snapped because the drop in his net worth was too much to handle. He still had millions but he suicided from what he perceived to be a great loss.
      I think it is all relative. Making $100K in NYC is peanuts. Making that in some middle of nowhere town is like hitting the jackpot.
      Still, it’s worth exploring.

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