Suicide ain’t painless II: Does money buy happiness?

We continue our study of the suicide data. The next question we ask is whether the level of per capita income affects the suicide rates. It should be noted that the GDP data in the suicides database is not the right data – it is not adjusted for inflation, which makes it less than useful. Instead, we merged the Kaggle data with the World Bank Data on GDP per capita Purchasing Power Parity in constant 2011 US Dollars. Without any further ado, here is the graph:

Suicide rate per 100000 vs GDP (in constant 2011 USD)

We see that while money might not be able to buy happiness, it does seem to alleviate the misery considerably. We should give the usual warning that correlation does not imply causation, since, for example, suicide rates in sub-Saharan Africa (represented here mostly by South Africa) are low, as are the incomes, while suicide rates in East Asia (Korea, Japan) are relatively high, as are the incomes, so there are underlying cultural reasons responsible for both x- and y- coordinates. Still, the relationship could not be clearer. An interesting companion graph is one where only the women’s suicides are counted (since the suicide rates among men are much higher, the similar graph for me is essentially identical to that for general population):

Womoen’s suicide rates

It seems that the situation for women is much more “binary”. There is high “unhappiness” rates until around $50K, but once that boundary is crossed all is well. This author will leave it to the sociologists to explain this phenomenon.