No one can deny that stress levels here in New Jersey tend to be through the roof. That may be because we are so densely populated that we’re all practically on top of each other running from here to there.

Or it could be that we’re under more financial stress than people in most states because of the high taxes, high cost of living, traffic, congestion, laws and restrictions.

Wouldn’t you think that that would be a recipe for deep dissatisfaction with life? Wouldn’t you suspect, then, that we would have a bunch of unhappy people here, and thus have a moderately high suicide rate, at least compared to other states? Well, it turns out, we don’t.

In fact, we now, as of 2020, officially have the lowest suicide rate of any other state in the country, according to Gothamist.

They report that according to statistics from the Violence Policy Center, which looked at 2020 suicide data, the Garden State had the nation's lowest suicide rate — 7.64 suicides per 100,000 people. (Next, by the way, was New York, with 8.49, followed by Rhode Island, with 8.89 per 100,000 people.)

When you think about it, it really makes sense. After all, NJ is a very family-oriented state. In some cases, you have generations of people living in close proximity to one another. And closeness with family is a characteristic that is often tied to happiness and life satisfaction and fulfillment.

Also, jobs are easier to come by here than in other states. Yes, it’s expensive to live here, but on the other hand, we make more money.

Also, we live in a state where there’s always something to do. Life in other states that are more rural, or where people live further apart or are far from metropolitan centers can be boring. And boredom can be a major precursor to depression.

Perhaps that’s why, according to the article, Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the country, with 31.25 suicides per 100,000 people. My theory about boredom in rural states also makes sense when you realize that the number two and three states for suicide are Alaska and Montana, with 27.9 and 27.76 per 100,000 residents, respectively.

It’s satisfying to hear these statistics. Because no matter what gets you down as a result of living in this state, remember, we have it so much better than so many others.

The many reasons why we're so happy living in New Jersey

New Jersey was recently ranked as the happiest state in the country by a Wallethub survey. What makes us all so happy here in the Garden State? That's the question Steve Trevelise posed to his social media following, here's some of what they came up with.

New Jersey's best tourist town for all 4 seasons

Lambertville was just named best winter destination in New Jersey. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is the best destination at ANY time of year.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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